Budget of $38 Million Set for Minnesota Bridge Victims Fund

May 2, 2008

A Minnesota House-Senate panel ageed on a $38 million compensation package for victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.

The lead negotiators were Sen. Ron Latz and Rep. Ryan Winkler. The total amount is closer to the House’s $40 million bill than the Senate’s $26.4 million version.

The main disagreement was whether individual victims should get more than the state’s liability limit of $400,000.

On the Senate side, Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, said it’s important not to open the state up to claims from victims of future incidents who can argue that the state went beyond its liability limits for the bridge victims.

Speaking for the House negotiators, Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said lawmakers can’t ignore the most severely injured survivors of last summer’s bridge failure. Some face medical bills and other losses that add up to more than $400,000.

The bridge collapsed on Aug. 1, killing 13 people and injuring 145.

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