Three days after a Fridley state representative asked Gov. Mark Dayton not to award a Southwest light rail transit contract to URS Corp., a URS executive has written his own letter to Dayton touting the international engineering firm's Minnesota experience.
"I am honored that the Met Council is considering URS for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, should it be funded," vice president Tom Bader wrote (see attached PDF at right).
In his letter, Rep. Tom Tillberry (DFL-Fridley) cited URS' inspection work on the I-35W bridge before its collapse and its engineering role on the now-closed Sabo bicycle bridge in Minneapolis as reasons for the state not to hire the firm.
"I just don't understand why somebody would be considering a company that has that track record," Tillberry told MPRNews.com.
An account representative from the Tunheim public relations firm, in an email to Patch, said the URS letter was written "regarding Representative Tillberry’s letter," although the firm's letter did not directly reference Tillberry or his letter (the URS letter also did not mention the Sabo bridge). It did say "there were no findings of fault against us" regarding the I-35W bridge collapse (the company paid $52.4 million to settle related lawsuits in 2010 but did not admit to any wrongdoing).
The planned Southwest LRT project would link downtown Minneapolis with suburbs to the southwest, including St. Louis Park, Edina, Hopkins and Minnetonka.