Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Burning Bridges

President Bush promised to veto attempts to raise the gasoline tax to pay for bridge and road repairs. But he had no problem signing a bill with $250 million fast tracked to replace the collapsed Minneapolis bridge.

A 2002 Transportation Department report warns 167,566 bridges around the country could collapse like the I-35W. But instead of fixing them -- the administration's priority is repairing the one that already fell -- and doing it within a year.

Was it just a case of "barn door politics" -- closing the door after the horse is out -- taking priority over preventative maintenance? Or was it smart planning against a Democratic photo-op during the 2008 Republican National Convention?

The GOP Convention is in Minneapolis-St Paul next year.

It'll come just a week or two after the Democratic National Convention. A Hillary Clinton nomination would certainly remind Americans of the Bill Clinton promise of a "Bridge to the 21st Century." And rubble at the GOP Convention city could certainly suggest the kind of bridge America has gotten under the Bush administration.

Smart move on the President's part. Perhaps it was one of Karl Rove's last, bright moves on the way out of town -- dealing with that photo-op now, instead of waiting to cross that bridge when the RNC came to it. (LAT)

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