The Joint Committee to Investigate the Bridge Collapse consists of eight members of the Senate and eight members of the House. Senator Steve Murphy and Representative Bernard Lieder are co-chairs. It was appointed August 14, 2007, by the Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Joint Committee was directed to do a comprehensive review of all decisions potentially relevant to the collapse of the I-35W bridge on August 1, 2007, within the context of the general practices of the Minnesota Department of Transportation relating to bridge inspection and repair. The Joint Committee was directed to examine the extent to which the decisions that permitted the I-35W bridge to deteriorate to the point of collapse were similar to those made regarding other bridges, the extent to which other bridges are in peril, and how the bridge maintenance and replacement program must be changed to ensure that no more bridges fall down.
On December 19, 2007, the Joint Committee contracted with the law firm GRAY PLANT MOOTY of Minneapolis to serve as its Special Counsel for the investigation. The firm named Robert A. Stein, former Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School and former Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the American Bar Association,as its lead investigator.