Lots more bridge reaction links at the faboo UpsiderBlog, including commentary on Nick Coleman's latest column, which essentially accuses taxpayers of killing commuters.
Four of those commuters have been identified:
Julia Blackhawk, 32, of Savage, Minn.; Patrick Holmes, 36, of Mounds View, Minn.; Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29, of Minneapolis; and Sherry Engebretsen, 60, of Shoreview, Minn.
My deepest condolences to the families.
A big deal is being made out of the bridge being rated structurally deficient, but it looks as though there are such bridges all over the country, including just a few miles away in Osceola. Interestingly enough, Minnesota ranks 11th in the nation for bridge maintenance. Small consolation, but hey, it's hard to argue we're not one of the best state's in the country for bridge maintenance.
Oberstar is now starting to take potshots at the Bush administration for approving $285 billion instead of $375 billion in transportation funding. Someone should ask Oberstar how much of that he would have directed to mass transit over infrastructure repairs.
UPDATE: My mom called a little while ago. One of the victims is someone I used to play with in pre-school through first or second grade, when we lived in St. Paul. It brings back some memories of the old "West Nebraska" neighborhood. Another kid from that neighborhood went on to play for the Gophers and in the NHL. We used to play flag football - NHL kid's mom didn't like him playing tackle because he'd get nosebleeds. I certainly didn't know the victim, and haven't for a long time. I probably haven't even thought about him or his family in 25 years. I hope his family is coping alright. My, what a small world it is.
UPDATE II: It's heartwarming to see what kind of person Pat turned out to be:
Holmes' love of sports seemed to rub off on his children, and he enjoyed it. He took pride in coaching his 6-year-old son's baseball and soccer teams, his wife said. They had two children, including their son and a 4-year-old daughter.
Holmes' former baseball coach remembered him as a consummate team player -- a hard worker and an overachiever.