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Pending Stillwater bridge plans prompt D.C. discussions

With legislation to build a new $700 million bridge across the St. Croix River now awaiting floor votes in both the U.S. House and Senate, top officials in Washington are set to discuss the proposal on Wednesday, MPR says.

The bridge would replace the aging lift bridge in Stillwater — which contributes to congestion in downtown Stillwater — with a new freeway-style bridge just south of Stillwater, which would hook up with the existing Hwy. 36 that goes west towards the Twin Cities.

The story says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will meet with the Minnesota and Wisconsin congressional delegations on Wednesday. Also invited: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the governors of the two states. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will send a representative.

While Dayton and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann have pushed hard to get the bridge built, environmental groups oppose it, as do many “no-tax” groups, who think the cost is too high.

And Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Congressman Keith Ellison and 30 state legislators from the two states have come out strongly against it.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by William Pappas on 11/14/2011 - 07:34 pm.

    Klobuchar, for some reason, continues to make many misstatements about the bridge project. As Mondale says, arguing that the area of bridge construction is already industrial simply stands the WSRA on its head. The act functions to stop the industrial pollution of designated rivers and this mega bridge is a polluter, don’t doubt that. The sprawl and attendant proliferating hard surface runnoff from such a humongous freeway span will add the very pollutants that landed Lake St. Croix on the impaired rivers list. Klobuchar denies that her exemption legislation will make it easier for other projects from many state highway departments and development interests to finally be approved. She is wrong. Senator Klobucahr has laid the groundwork and established legal precedent to challenge the act for any project deemed in the “public interest”. For 4 decades legislation has stood in absolute protection of many wild and scenic rivers. It is now in jeapordy. How tragic that a bridge too expensive, too inflated in purpose, relying on old traffic projections and conceived in the 90’s when sprawl was the defacto expansion method of the Twin Cities will finally diminish Mondales signature legislation. IF this bridge were designed today, the current concept of a mega bridge and companion freeway engendering a new expensive transportation corridor would be rejected out of hand. Notify Senators from other states and let them know the majority of Minnesotans find this expenditure obscene and entirely too parochial to hog such a huge slice of the transportation budget. Building one of the largest infrastructure projects in Minnesota history to benefit commuters from Sommerset and New Richmond along with business owners in downtown Stillwater defies all logic. Allowing this project to dominate funding will make overall transportation less safe in Minnesota.

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