Rep calls for withholding of transporting funding if protests on highways continue

A Minnesota Representative and trucking company owner is asking federal authorizes to withhold transportation funding if cities continue to allow protests to occur on highways.

In a Facebook video, Minnesota Rep. Cal Bahr said that he sent letters to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington requesting they withhold funding transportation if cities continue to allow protests on highways.

“Today I sent a letter to Attorney General Barr and Governor Walz urging them to put an end to allowing protesters to gather on our interstates. In the past few months, we have seen two of our primary interstates blocked by protesters, putting many lives in danger. The lack of penalties for these actions has encouraged others to protest in this same way,” the Facebook post states.

“I encourage you, your office, along with other federal agencies, to use every tool at your disposal up to and including withholding federal funds if these actions are allowed to continue.” – Rep. Cal Bahr, the Facebook post states.

In his letter, Bahr, a CDL holder and trucking company owner, referenced the May 31st incident that involved a tanker truck encountering protesters on the highway.

 “As someone who has a commercial driver’s license myself, I know firsthand how dangerous this situation is for all concerned. On May 31st, a fuel hauler named Bogdan Virechko was trapped on the I-35W Bridge, blocked by protesters, which MNDOT had failed to secure properly. MNDOT has cameras everywhere along that road, and knowing that they had been unable to restrict traffic in that area, they allowed protesters to block it anyway. 

“The situation could have resulted in many deaths but for the actions of Mr. Virechko, who was beaten by protesters and jailed for his trouble. I don’t need to tell you that allowing situations like this to develop in Minnesota and other states strike at the heart of our interstate commerce system and our rights as citizens to move freely about the country and engage in transactions of all kinds. We are just coming out of a significant supply chain disruption due to the Government’s response to COVID-19. The federal government was founded to protect us from these types of local disturbances, and I ask you to intervene to uphold the law to protect commerce at this most basic level,” the letter states.

Posted by Cal Bahr on Tuesday, July 14, 2020