The New York Times is highlighting the proposed freeway-style Stillwater bridge in their Room for Debate series. They are calling it “Bachmann’s Bridge”, even though Senator Al Franken and Governor Dayton both support it. I suppose since she is now a Republican front-runner she gets the cheers/jeers.
Former Senator Mondale sums things up:
At $700 million, this bridge, the largest and most expensive in Minnesota history, would carry about 18,000 vehicles a day. By comparison, the Interstate-35 bridge in Minneapolis carries more than 10 times the number of vehicles and was a fraction of the cost to build. This bridge would consume nearly all of the available financing in Minnesota to build or repair bridges, leaving almost 1,200 structurally deficient bridges wanting for funds. Both states have endorsed this bridge during Minnesota’s well-publicized state budget shutdown, and without investigating less harmful, less expensive and more sensible alternatives that respect the river, address commuters’ needs, and cost hundreds of millions less to the taxpayer.
Congress should employ its common sense.
I realize my Stillwater bridge series is missing a post on the “Sensible Stillwater Bridge” organization that has started up. Basically, they are advocating for a lower, slower bridge with three lanes instead of four. It would supposedly save 60% of the cost of the “boondoggle” bridge. They don’t have a proper website, but you can see renderings of their proposal on their facebook page. They also have a twitter account.
I asked the Sensible Bridge Partnership about tolling, and for now, they don’t seem to have an opinion. I think tolling should be part of any “sensible” plan for a new bridge, and could even be a selling point to skeptical Minnesotans.