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The Minnesota State Legislature
November 8, 2011
Dear Members of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Congressional Delegations, We are writing to express our strong opposition to H.R. 850 (Bachmann) that clears the way for construction of a bridge between Stillwater, Minnesota and the area north of Hudson, Wisconsin. The bridge could cost almost $700 million. As things currently stand, Minnesota will be forced to divert $160 million of its federal allocation and up to $220 million of state highway and bridge funding. Wisconsin will also need to utilize general fund resources, competing directly with education, healthcare and other priorities and has yet to identify the source of additional funds needed to cover the difference between its presently authorized funds and the minimum estimated amount of its share of the bridge. As legislators on both sides of the St. Croix River we are united in our concerns that the current design of the bridge is far too expensive, particularly in light of much more cost-effective alternatives. In choosing the most expensive option, H.R. 850 further constrains our states’ already limited resources for critical bridge repairs and road safety projects. The bridge envisioned in H.R. 850 is just six miles north of the existing eight lane Interstate 94 bridge connecting Afton, Minnesota and Hudson, Wisconsin. Much more fiscally responsible alternative designs exist, and those savings could be invested in the many road and bridge safety improvement projects languishing all across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Furthermore, the alternative plan significantly reduces noise and air pollution and protects the environmental and recreational integrity of the Lower St. Croix River. National organizations including Taxpayers for Common Sense have stated their opposition to the interstate-style bridge design that is earmarked in H.R. 850. The I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis shocked our region and our nation into taking the safety of our bridges and condition of our transportation infrastructure seriously. A recent study, issued by Transportation for America titled “The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges” shows there are more than 1,142 deficient bridges in Wisconsin, 8.2% of the state’s bridges, carrying almost 3.5 million people per day. According to the study there are 1,149, or 8.8% of bridges, that are deficient in Minnesota.
We urge you to reject the wasteful and ill-conceived H.R. 850, and work with the communities and leaders of Minnesota and Wisconsin to help build the bridge that is actually needed, and free necessary resources to help address our respective states’ serious and growing infrastructure safety needs. Sincerely, Rep. Frank Hornstein Minneapolis, Minnesota Rep. Terese Berceau Madison, Wisconsin Rep. Chris Danou Trempealeau, Wisconsin Rep. Kerry Gauthier Duluth, Minnesota Sen. Jeff Hayden Minneapolis, Minnesota Rep. Sheldon Johnson St. Paul, Minnesota Sen. John Marty Roseville, Minnesota Rep. Joe Mullery Minneapolis, Minnesota Sen. Sandra L. Pappas St. Paul, Minnesota Rep. Linda Slocum Richfield, Minnesota Rep. Brett Hulsey Madison, Wisconsin Sen. D. Scott Dibble Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber Rep. Bobby Joe Champion Appleton, Wisconsin Minneapolis, Minnesota Sen. Chris Eaton Rep. Andrew Falk Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Murdock, Minnesota Rep. Mindy Greiling Roseville, Minnesota Sen. Linda Higgins Minneapolis, Minnesota Rep. Phyllis Kahn Minneapolis, Minnesota Sen. Mary Jo McGuire Falcon Heights, Minnesota Rep. Erin Murphy St. Paul, Minnesota Rep. Kelda Roys Madison, Wisconsin Rep. Chris Taylor Madison, Wisconsin Rep. Alice Hausman St. Paul, Minnesota Rep. Bill Hilty Finlayson, Minnesota Rep. Carlos Mariani St. Paul, Minnesota Rep. Nick Milroy South Range, Wisconsin Rep. Kim Norton Rochester, Minnesota Rep. Bev Scalze Little Canada, Minnesota Rep. Ryan Winkler Golden Valley, Minnesota
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