Fixing the Devil’s Triangle

There was front page article in the Strib on the traffic congestion at the Devil’s Triangle.

In society, a common label for Democrats who wish to invest in society is tax and spend liberal.  Sometimes you can see the spittle coming out right wing pundits as they say it.

But if we take framing lessons, framing meaning how to present an idea in a positive light, then I think a better explanation of this position is tax and invest.  Supporting people at the low end of the income scale is an investment, building infrastructure is an investment, and funding public education is an investment.

A frame that we don’t hear is spend and borrow conservatives.  While it is harder to label state level politicians with this, after all most states have balanced budget requirements, so they can’t run up deficits like Republican presidents.

But Governor Pawlenty decide to come up with a unique plan to fund the Crosstown project, what I like to call the Wimpy funding scheme.  Did you ever watch the cartoon Popeye?  Remember the large figure Wimpy, who was always proposing that he will “pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  Well Pawlenty had a novel idea, lets ask the construction companies to build it and we will pay you later for it.  As MPR reported,

When MnDOT said a few months ago it didn’t have enough money to pay for the project, it asked contractors bidding on the $250 million rebuild to loan the state the funds. The contractors rejected the idea and warned at the time they’d refuse to submit bids. That’s exactly what happened.

Unfortunately, this funding plan, which found no takers, has caused ripple effects that impact other construction projects including the Devil’s Triangle as the original article states,

Work that would lift Hwy. 169 above two county roads was supposed to begin last year, but the money got switched to pay for the Crosstown project.

The Legislature and governor didn’t come up with replacement funds for the 169 project during the 2007 session. Now the work is set to start in the second half of 2009, with completion late in 2011.

So the poor drivers that travel through the Devil’s Triangle are stuck in congestion for years on end because Pawlenty vetoed, not once, but twice a gas tax increase.  Oh, and those replacement funds, the Legislature passed a gas tax increase in 2007, that was Pawlenty’s second veto (first in 2005), so the Governor blocked the Legislature.



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