Will proposed St. Croix bridge hurt Bachmann campaign?

Could Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s support of a $690 million bridge over the St. Croix River south of Stillwater become an albatross for her in the presidential campaign? wonders The Hill.

Environmentalists and government watchdog-types oppose the bridge, calling it a boondoggle akin to Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” and the story suggests that her Republican opponents in the Republican primary race might start raising it as an issue.

The bridge does have some bipartisan support in the state, with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton joining an unusual alliance with Bachmann in the push for the four-lane, freeway bridge that would replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge that clogs traffic in downtown Stillwater.

Also supporting it are Democrat Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

But Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum, whose district is 10 miles west of the proposed bridge, strongly opposes it.

So do others, says the story:

“We’re opposed to that project because there’s a far, far cheaper alternative to the Stillwater bridge,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a group that opposes earmarks and government projects it deems wasteful.

“Why are we spending hundreds of millions more than we need to when we can get a much cheaper alternative that does the same thing?” Ellis said. “She said balancing the budget is easy, we just need to prioritize spending. Congressman Bachman should look in the mirror. If [choosing a cheaper alternative] is not re-prioritizing spending, I don’t know what is.”

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, noted that more than 1,000 bridges need repairs in Minnesota.

“So one question is why does this one take priority over others,” he said.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/29/2011 - 03:16 pm.

    There’s an alternative that solves the problem, and doesn’t cost a penny. Close the lift bridge to motorized traffic. No more traffic jams in Stillwater, no more risking of lives on an aging bridge. Done. Use the money for hundreds of bridge repairs across the state.

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