Tim Pawlenty on Technology

Republican MN Governor


Don't eliminate the space program; reprioritize instead

Q: What role should the government play in future space exploration?

GINGRICH: NASA has become a case study in why bureaucracy can't innovate. We've had is bureaucracy after bureaucracy and failure after failure. NASA ought to be getting out of the way and encouraging the private sector.

PAWLENTY: I think the space program has played a vital role for the US.

Q: But can we afford it going forward?

PAWLENTY: In the context of our budget challenges, it can be refocused and reprioritized, but I don't think we should be eliminating the space program. We can partner with private providers to get more economies of scale and scale it back, but I don't think we should eliminate the space program.

GINGRICH: I didn't say end the space program. I said you could get into space faster & more effectively, if you decentralized it & got it out of Washington.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

2007: 5-cent gas tax to replace bridges after I-35 collapse

The seminal tragedy of Pawlenty's second term was the collapse of the I-35W bridge in 2007, killing 13 people. The state was forced to review the safety of all its bridges and make substantial improvements. In a startling turnaround, Pawlenty agreed to a 5-cent gas-tax increase--an idea he once called an "onerous and unnecessary burden"--to fund the projects. In the extraordinary circumstances, the tax increase appeared justified to Minnesotans. Most were pleased with his handling of the crisis; his approval rating climbed to 59%. Four months after the collapse, Pawlenty proposed borrowing a historic $1 billion to replace over 600 deteriorating bridges across the state.
Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 46-47 , May 10, 2010

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