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Coleman and Klobuchar Seek $250 Million for I-35 Bridge Reconstruction

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Minnesota Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar spearheaded federal legislation on Thursday to not only provide funds to rebuild the I-35 bridge, but also improve infrastructure problems nationwide.

The Senators first called on the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to immediately release emergency relief funding for the I-35W bridge disaster. However, because states are eligible to receive up to only $100 million in emergency funds each year, Coleman and Klobuchar introduced a bill in the Senate to authorize $250 million for the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge. DFL Representative Jim Oberstar (MN-08) introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday as well.

Coleman and Klobuchar's call for a National Commission on Infrastructure was approved by the Senate in legislation that was created to: "Address the deterioration of much of our nation's infrastructure including our roads, bridges, drinking water systems, dams and other public works. The bill would create a National Commission on Infrastructure of the United States to analyze our nation's infrastructure and report recommendations to Congress. This group would also be charged with aiding in the nation's economic growth and ensuring the ability of the nation's infrastructure to meet current and future demands."

The Commission would be required to complete its report to Congress by February 2009, at which point a plan would be in place to decide what infrastructure legislation would be necessary for the next five, 15, 30 and 50 years.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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