Text of Sen. Coleman's remarks on bridge collapse

  • August 2, 2007 - 1:06 PM

August 2, 2007

"Yesterday was a day of horror for the city of Minneapolis and for the state of Minnesota. There will be many difficult days ahead as we begin to go through the recovery process. So I hope that we continue to hold those who have suffered loss from this horrific tragedy in our prayers.

"I think it is very, very important. There are still tough days that lie ahead as we move into the recovery phase. I have to tell you as a United States Senator and Senator Klobuchar, Congressman Ellison all said the same thing, (we are) proud of this community and the way they responded.

"General Mark Rosenker-he is chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board--he talked to me as I came upon the scene about the acts of heroism from the first responders and from private citizens and the impact that had on saving lives. We are proud of this community and the way they responded to this terrible, terrible tragedy.

"A couple of thoughts on what we can do at the federal level. Secretary Peters talked about $5 million and that is to get some things moving. One of the realities that money is technically not available for bus service. We need bus service. First thing Secretary (Peters) said we will waive that. Don't worry about that rule. There is $100 million that is available for rebuilding from the federal government in the first 180 days. The fund where that money comes from has money in it but it may be used for other projects. I'll let Senator Klobuchar talk about that.

"We will move forward to make sure that that money is available. We will rebuild. And the federal government will be a full partner with the folks at the local level to make sure we rebuild. The last point is to find out what happened. What caused this unbelievable, almost incomprehensible tragedy? Chairman Rosenker was here in the early morning hours. His team already (has) begun to assemble.

"They will go through the process, figure out how this occurred. We need to understand that. We need to understand that. To make sure that this type of tragedy never happens anywhere again. So from the federal level we are full partners. I got a call of condolence from the head of the Small Business Administration. He said, "Senator, my heart goes out to you and the people of Minnesota, let us know what you need." So we are committed to respond.

"Senator Klobuchar and I will work hand-in-hand to coordinate those resources but again I want to reiterate the need to keep the people of Minneapolis, Minnesota in our prayers because the horrors will continue to play out and to express my appreciation and admiration for the folks who responded the way they did.

"I was the mayor of St. Paul on 9/11 and I remember how unprepared we were then in terms of communication. I watched folks go through training. You hope that day never comes we have to use it. The people of Minneapolis used it yesterday and used it in an incredible way and they showed leadership. In the end they saved lives.

"So again, I express my appreciation and admiration to the folks who have been on the scene and the job that they are doing."

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