Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller sent Governor Tim Pawlenty a letter appealing for a one day, limited agenda special session focusing on flood relief in Southeast Minnesota. This natural disaster in addition to the circumstances surrounding the I-35W Bridge collapse prolonged political debate and bickering over when a special session would be called. Furthermore, Senate DFL leaders expressed frustration after it became clear that a transportation package to support I-35W Bridge construction would have to wait for the 2008 legislative session, which will begin in February. An agreement was finally made Monday September 10th to hold a special session at the State Capitol on Tuesday September 11th at 5pm. Gov. Pawlenty signed the $157 million disaster relief bill just after 3am the following morning.
The next day the US Senate approved $1 billion for nationwide substandard bridge repairs and $195 million for I-35W Bridge reconstruction. Minnesota on the other hand, has not kept up with Congress's pace on bridge appropriations.
This story was submitted by Lauretta Dawolo on September 11, 2007.