State Representative Tom Tillberry (DFL-51B) sent a three-page letter to Gov. Mark Dayton this week to express his "serious concern" about a bid by an engineering firm, URS Corp., for a pending state contract.
Tillberry, who represents part of Fridley and is a Fridley resident, noted that URS was involved with two faulty bridges in Minneapolis—inspecting the I-35W bridge before it fell and the Sabo bicycle bridge now closed for repairs.
The contract in question is for a new light rail transit line between downtown Minneapolis and suburbs to the southwest including St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Edina and Minnetonka.
In the April 24, 2012, letter, first posted in a news report at Minnesota.PublcRadio.org, Tillberry asked Dayton to "do all you can to ensure that URS does not receive this contract."
Tillberry included a personal note:
On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Bridge fell. My neighbor, Pat Holmes, was on the bridge. ... I, along with many other Minnesotans, lost a good friend ... Others lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, aunts, and uncles. I am sure that they would ask—as I do—what does a company have to do before we will cease to do business with them?
Tillberry co-authored legislation for a memorial to the 13 killed in the I-35W bridge collapse, including Mounds View resident Pat Holmes.
in the , and in his letter he said politics didn't play a part in his speaking out:
As a retiring legislator, I don't have a horse in this race. The Southwest Light Rail Line wouldn't go through my district. My concern here is solely for the safety of the people of Minnesota.
"I just don't understand why somebody would be considering a company that has that track record," Tillberry told MPR.