thoughts on the passage of the St. Croix Bridge
TRC has made no secret of the fact that we oppose the enormous St. Croix Bridge project that has been sought for many years. Well, it has finally made its way through the labyrinthine process of legislative approval. It has passed both chambers, and is headed to the President.
I don’t like this bridge primarily because it will require the first ever exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a precedent that we shouldn’t set. We should protect what we have protected. Anytime we decide to un-protect natural resources that we have set aside it is a loss for the future.
Not only that. But it’s too expensive–$690 Million-and too big. It’s just too much. Our Minnesota voice of reason on this issue has always been Rep. Betty McCollum. Here she is on the bridge:
We agree with federal, state and local leaders who believe a new bridge across the St. Croix is needed….National media outlets have scrutinized the cost and scale of the St. Croix bridge project and have questioned whether it actually represents a massive Congressional earmark.
Let’s put the mega-bridge in context. Following the tragic collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, a replacement bridge was built to serve 140,000 cars per day at a cost of $260 million — to date, the most expensive bridge ever built in Minnesota. In contrast, the St. Croix mega-bridge would serve only 18,000 cars the day it opens but would carry a price tag that is 260 percent more expensive.
140,000 cars = $260 Million. So naturally, 18,000 cars = $690 Million. That makes sense.
Now it is passed. I will say only that in my opinion this bridge will be a monument of waste. If we were smart, we would build it smart and safe and in a way that does not require us to undo the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. But we aren’t going to. And that’s a shame.
At least Michele Bachmann will finally have a rebuttal to those who said she never got anything done in DC.