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(VIDEO) Ellison Opposes $700M Bridge Over St. Croix

The U.S. House voted in favor of the bridge Thursday.

Rep. Keith Ellison was one of just two Minnesota legislators who voted against a new bridge over the St. Croix River on Thursday.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 339-80 in favor of a $700 million four-lane bridge. Critics of the bridge, which will replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge, argued that it was “oversized and overpriced,” in the words of an Ellison news release.

On the floor of the House, Ellison said Minnesota has 1,400 other neglected bridges that need to be repaired—including the Highway 7 bridge over Highway 100 . The St. Croix River bridge will take away funds from bridges like those that are in need of repairs.

“This is not a good use of taxpayer money. It soaks up resources that other people need. It violates our Scenic and Wild River Act. This is a bad idea,” Ellison said.

In a news release after the vote, he added that exempting the bridge from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sets a precedent that would justify building bridges over any of the country’s Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Yet Rep. Betty McCollum was the only member of the Minnesota delegation to join Ellison in opposing the bridge.

The project brought together Minnesota legislators from opposite sides of the political spectrum—such as Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who sponsored the House bill, and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who sponsored the Senate version that passed in January.

The bill will now be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

David Haines March 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM
So it's too big and too expensive...I get that. But he also opposes it on environmental grounds. So what is his plan? Does he want the Stillwater bridge to collapse before a new bridge is built? Or does he want people to drive to Hudson to cross the river? It's easy to be against a plan but doesn't really solve anything until you put up a competing plan.
Caitlin Burgess March 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
This discussion has been going on for a few months now. He co-authored a letter to Congress asking for them to come up with something more fiscally and environmentally responsible last fall before it even went to the floor. Don't know if he has put together any suggestions for actually finding a solution. Here's a link to a story from when he first wrote the letter. http://patch.com/A-ntb8
Matthew Johnson March 04, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Make it a toll bridge if it's too expensive: 700,000,000 dollars / ( 18,000 people per day * 2 crossings per day * 365 days per year * 30 years) = $1.78 per crossing. Isn't math fun?
Dennis Gillespie March 05, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I understand there is a great deal of environmental costs involved in this bridge. I think the 35W bridge across the Mississippi cost us something like $250 million. I agree make it a toll bridge to pay for itself that way I agree that bridge is long over due. Don't recall ever corssing the old bridge. I assume when the new bridge goes up usage will be higher than anticipated, unless the gas prices keep going the way they are. It is also so wonderful to hear that Obama plans on buying a Chevy Volt in 5 years after he is no longer President. He better buy one now, I have a feeling another one of his Green Investments is going down the drain on him.
wes winkelman March 07, 2012 at 07:00 PM
are you kidding? once the bridge is built, the farmers and land speculators are made millionairs, and the stripmalls and condos are built, they will find the same congestion as seen anywhere in the metro area. in the long run the bridge is to small!!!

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