Gov. Mark Dayton has not yet responded to an offer by San Francisco-based URS Corp. to fly its chief executive officer to Minnesota to discuss the company’s history in the state and its bid for engineering work on the proposed Southwest Light Rail project.
URS VP and Minneapolis Office Manager Tom Bader sent the letter last Friday in response to another recent letter - this one from Rep.Tom Tillberry, DFL-Fridley – asking the governor not to give URS more state contracts.
“I, along with many other Minnesotans, lost a good friend on August 1, 2007. Others lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, aunts and uncles,” Tillberry wrote. “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?”
URS consulted on the 35W bridge before it collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people. Now URS is up for a $100 million contract on the Southwest Corridor LRT, one of Gov. Dayton’s top bonding priorities this session. The governor has expressed strong concerns over URS bidding for more work in the state.
In URS’ letter, Bader said the company understands the impact of the 35W bridge collapse, saying URS “did not design or build the I-35W bridge, nor were we involved in any of the construction work, including the resurfacing being done when the bridge collapsed. In fact, there were no findings of fault against us.”
The company offered to fly CEO Martin Koffel to Minnesota to meet personally with Dayton to address any concerns.
We’ll have to see whether the governor takes URS up on its offer.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are deadlocked at the Capitol as the end of session nears with no indication of whether they’ll approve funding for the SWLRT.