Earlier this week, Investigative Reporters and Editors, a non-profit clearinghouse for investigative reporters worldwide, posted two separate, but related stories on its Extra! Extra! page
The first is from Peter Spiegel of The Los Angeles Times' Washington Bureau. On July 30, Spiegel reported that Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq, called for an end to all American funding of Iraqi reconstruction "because the Iraqi oil windfall plus unspent funds from earlier budgets are more than adequate to meet the country's reconstruction needs."
The second is from an Associated Press report on the first anniversary of the collapse of a section of I-35W in Minneapolis, Minn. that left 13 people dead. According to the AP, "two of every three of the busiest problem bridges in each state — carrying nearly 40 million vehicles a day — have had no work beyond regular maintenance."
Partly because of the I-35W tragedy, officials in nearly every state have made efforts to address the problem. However, "[s]oaring construction costs, budget shortages, election-year politics, a backlog of bridge projects, competing highway repairs and bureaucracy often held bridge work to only incremental progress."