Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Bachmann, McCollum clash over St. Croix Bridge

Michele Bachmann
Rep. Michele Bachmann

WASHINGTON — The stark divisions among Minnesota lawmakers over a new $700 million St. Croix River bridge were on stark display during a House debate on Wednesday night, all while their Wisconsin colleagues presented unified support for the project.

Betty McCollum
Rep. Betty McCollum

Comments (22)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/29/2012 - 09:38 pm.

    Follow the money

    Since when has Betty McCollum ever opposed spending other people’s money, especially one that means union construction jobs? Bachmann wouldn’t say it but I will … McCollum’s opposition doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 03/01/2012 - 09:34 am.

      Stop implying impropriety

      Unless you have evidence to back it up.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2012 - 09:36 am.


      What nefarious motive does Rep. McCollum have for opposing the bridge? I should think that her opposition to the bridge, and what you call her opposition to “spending other people’s money, especially one [?] that means union construction jobs” would hint at some good reason for her to be against it.

      I know you hate and despise all things liberal, but do you have any reason other than that for what you posted?

    • Submitted by Jim Deeny on 03/01/2012 - 02:29 pm.

      Traffic counts

      The estimated traffic volume on MN36 in 10 to 15 years is equal to current levels of I94. Betty McCollum is simply representing her district against a possible catastrophic effect to neighborhoods and cities adjacent to TH36. What’s good for the exurbs is not always good for the core or suburbs. Perhaps the people in Lake Elmo are correct about development. Not all “progress” is good or necessary.

  2. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 02/29/2012 - 09:52 pm.

    conservative hypocrisy

    Our thoughtlessly overbuilt and sprawling road and bridge infrastructure is a huge ball and chain on our state finances at a time when we’re being forced to short-change everything else. That our supposedly “fiscally conservative” state Republicans support a $700M bridge six miles north of an existing freeway bridge only emphasizes their self-serving hypocrisy.

  3. Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/01/2012 - 06:42 am.

    It’s not about Bachmann or McCollum really

    It’s about replacing a bridge that’s needed replacing for over 30 years. That’s why you also have Governor Dayton and Senators Kloubachar and Franken supporting an exemption that passed with unanimous consent in the Senate already.

    • Submitted by Pete Barrett on 03/01/2012 - 07:38 am.


      It’s about a huge government subsidy to real estate developers in western Wisconsin.

      Why I as a Minnesota tax payer should pay to make it easier for Minnesotans to move to another state while still working here is beyond me. Is Washington County so dense and over-developed that housing prices are out of reach for all but the wealthiest?

      I’d much rather build a cheaper bridge and spend the balance on other deteriorating bridges that benefit Minnesota citizens and bridges?

      How much of that windfall will those real estate developers spend in Minnesota?

      How much of the increased tax base will St. Croix County return to the Minnesota state treasury?

      And now tell me again how this is in my interest?

      • Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/01/2012 - 08:42 am.

        So many misconceptions, so little time

        Pete, there’s plenty of land available for development in Washington County, but the fact is that the zoning in places like Grant, Lake Elmo and Afton is very restrictive and favors large lot sizes, which makes them very expensive. And Lake Elmo is already on record as not wanting any housing that’s affordable. That’s why you’re seeing people looking for homes across the river already.

        Regarding the tax base, if you work in Minnesota you pay Minnesota state income taxes. The property taxes you pay in Wisconsin go to paying for local schools and services there. So what’s there to complain about from a tax perspective?

        • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 03/01/2012 - 09:35 am.

          So then, fix the problem

          If there’s a problem with zoning laws, work on changing the laws. I don’t see how this justifies another bridge. It’s one thing to subsidize smart development. This is subsidizing moronic, sprawling development.

          • Submitted by Tom Clark on 03/01/2012 - 01:05 pm.

            If you want change

            Then you will agree that the Metropolitan Council should be able to order Lake Elmo to build more affordable housing units. Otherwise, what’s the incentive for Lake Elmo to change?

            • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 03/01/2012 - 04:51 pm.

              Lake Elmo is overly specific

              I don’t see what this has to do with Lake Elmo, like there’s some sort of necessity for people to move there. We already have relatively low-density core cities, surrounded by lower-density inner ring suburbs, surrounded by even lower-density outer ring suburbs, surrounded by even *lower* density exurbs. Sure, I suppose making Lake Elmo add some dense housing would be better then developing in Wisconsin, but it only goes to emphasize how much we think of perpetual development out, out, out, when we have so much infilling to do.

        • Submitted by Pete Barrett on 03/01/2012 - 10:09 am.

          I should care about Lake Elmo?

          So we need to spend a huge amount of money on a bridge so Lake Elmo doesn’t have to change? Then those who want the more affordable housing in Wisconsin (think those land values won’t rise with a new bridge?) can pay for it. Or the good citizens of Lake Elmo can pay for it.

          How many millions do I need to spend to subsidize what you admit are the high property values of Afton and Grant?

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 03/01/2012 - 06:45 am.

    700M is ridiculous

    McCollum and many of us aren’t opposed to a bridge, it is a 700 million dollar bridge we are opposed to. That part makes no sense. What makes sense is something closer to the scale of the lift bridge down close to the river. That said I don’t like the proposed alternative that got a lot of press, the bridge witht he reverseable lane. The purpose of the bridge is not just as a commuter path. I would think that in the summer traffic is going back and forth in close to equal measure. Poster two is right about the hypocrisy because the cost is way beyond what is justified. Poster one is, as usual, distorting the facts in order to attack a democrat.

  5. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 03/01/2012 - 07:04 am.

    Bipartisan irresponsibility

    McCollum and Ellison appear to be the only ones in favor of protecting taxpayers’ interests, perhaps because they are in safe districts while the others are concerned about reelection. Some of the people in favor of this bridge are the same who promote a Vikings stadium funded by taxpayers to further enrich the corporate elite.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/01/2012 - 08:30 am.

    This morning

    Rep. Bachmann ripped into McCollum on the radio, reminding people that 1/2 of the cost of the bridge reflects the tab McCollum and her leftist ilk rang up in court.

    Nice way to intorduce yourself to your new constituency, Betty!

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 03/01/2012 - 09:06 am.

      MnDOT owes $400M in legal fees? Good one.

      Mr Swift, with your public policy acuity, can you articulate any rationale whatsoever for spending hundreds of millions of Minnesota dollars on a new bridge, as opposed to simply closing the lift bridge to motorized traffic and calling it done? Certainly neither Ms Bachmann nor any of her odd DFL bedfellows has ever done so.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2012 - 09:38 am.


      Anything Rep. Bachmann says is a compelling argument! The Easter Bunny told me so.

    • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 03/01/2012 - 09:40 am.

      could you please explain

      Could you *please* explain to me why all of MinnPost’s resident conservatives, being paragons of fiscal responsibility, are universally *for* building a $700 million bridge six miles north of an existing freeway bridge? It would make my day.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2012 - 12:11 pm.


        Two reasons: 1. The tree-hugging liberals oppose it; 2. Michelle Bachmann favors it.

        Now that you know, it doesn’t really make your day, does it?

  7. Submitted by Dale Hoogeveen on 03/01/2012 - 09:33 am.

    With the new agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin about reciprocity in taxation either in effect or about to go into effect, making commuting in from western Wisconsin where zoning is not so careful that much easier, that simply enables another method of exporting taxation on the good jobs available in and around the Twin Cities metropolitan area to out of state.

    There is no good reason to further subsidize longer commutes either, considering the expense of gasoline and the increased pollution that would result.

    I definitely agree with McCollum that something must be done about that bridge but this proposal is purely wasteful of public moneys and definitely not in the best interests of the Twin Cities area. No question that some Republican big donors stand to make big bills off this either.

    Republican tax and spend for sure, which they do all the time when their big contributors stand to make out like bandits. They are the ones who spent this country broke and are showing no end in sight.

Leave a Reply