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Rep. Tilberry Is Right - No URS Contracts

Category: I-35 Bridge
Posted: 04/27/12 00:59

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Tom Tilberry asks a very pertinent question. Why is URS being considered for another transportation contract? And I ask the question, why do we keep allowing this cozy MnDOT/URS connection to continue?

A number of MnDOT employees have been on the URS payroll. It is almost like a revolving door. And the I-35 Bridge (that collapsed) inspection offers a host of unanswered questions to this day. After the post in the link above, Minnesota did sue URS....getting it filed just a few days before the statute of limitations ran out.

One year later they settled that suit for the paltry sum of $5 millon. It is still insulting on its face. But then, they had to make it look good. After all, it looks like they still want to do "business" with a firm that seems to have MnDOT as its personal sugar daddy. Although, in the Southwest Rail contract they have added the Met Council to their list.

The company paid $52.4 million in settling lawsuits with the victims...never admitting any wrongdoing. But are now up for a $100 million Southwest Rail engineering contract. And who knows how many others might end up in the works.

I have a very cynical view of all this. I think URS had the ultimate lobbying group....former MnDOT employees on their payroll. And they also had the advantage during the I-35 Bridge collapse to have a political atmosphere (via Tim Pawlenty) that wanted to keep the blame on faulty design and not blame anyone (certainly not the administration) for not following up on inspection questions or for their acceptance of easier monetary band-aids that wouldn't ruffle budgets.

Rep. Tilberry has it right. URS should not be doing business with the state of Minnesota. The history is too painful.
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