Beebe: Iraq money could help repair ailing bridges around country

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Governor Beebe says the money the United States is spending on Iraq's roads should go toward repairing ailing bridges such as the Minnesota span that collapsed into the Mississippi River.

Beebe made the comments today on the Arkansas Radio Network's monthly "Ask the Governor" show. He said the United States is, "spending billions of dollars for bridges and roads in Baghdad and in Iraq and I think the American people would rather see that spent on bridges and roads in this country particularly when they continue to blow those things up over there."

Beebe said the bulk of the money going to Iraq should instead fund road and bridge construction in the United States.

Nearly 1,000 of the state's bridges are rated structurally deficient, the same designation given to the Minnesota bridge that collapsed Wednesday. However, Beebe again stopped short of calling for further inspections of Arkansas' 12,398 bridges. The governor says the state will apply anything learned from the collapse.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)