Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Oak Park Heights City Council To Boondoggle Bridge Boosters: Not So Fast!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 2, 2012

Despite bespoke polls being flogged by the Boondoggle Bridge’s booster club (and one wonders if the question “Would you back the megabridge if you knew that a far less expensive alternative existed?” was asked; somehow I doubt it), the “inevitable” megabridge is looking more evitable with every passing moment:

The Oak Park Heights City Council last night approved a resolution questioning the availability of federal funds available for utility relocation with regards to the St. Croix River Crossing project.

In the resolution, Oak Park Heights asks “Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Michele Bachmann provide a clear response as to the availability to the City of the $3.66 million dollars in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU for utility relocation grant as amended and passed in the United States Senate on January 23, 2012 in S- 1134, as in the form of Congressional Budget Office analysis.”

Go read the whole thing.

16 Responses to “Oak Park Heights City Council To Boondoggle Bridge Boosters: Not So Fast!”

  1. Mark Gisleson said

    Rolling Stone’s RSS feed just reran their Anoka-Hennepin GLBT story (it first appeared one year ago today). No way in hell Klobuchar would do this, but wouldn’t it be great if Franken told them they could only have their bridge if they dedicated it to some GLBT pioneer?

    Frankly, rereading that article, I’d like to see every appropriation earmarked for that CD tagged in some way the evangelicals would find offensive. I have had enough of their bullshit, and I don’t care if the cheeseheads have to use row boats to get to their Minnesota jobs.

  2. David W. said

    Well, if Tammy Baldwin is elected to the Senate from Wisconsin she can come to the opening of the new bridge, with glitter of course.

    And while Oak Park Heights may be concerned about the expense of reconstructing part of Mn Hwy 36, their community will benefit economically from a new bridge given the presence of the commercial strip along Hwy 36, as the Menards, Lowes, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and numerous other retailers there are the most convenient ones for Wisconsin residents.

    • Charles II said

      You wouldn’t have a dog in this fight, would you, David?

      • David W. said

        Sure! I’ve always been in agreement with Saul Alinsky (DFH) about the importance of self-interest in politics. If anyone thinks I should excuse myself from advocating things that happen to benefit me personally, well, that’s the same attitude that Romney takes when it comes to rich people paying their fair share of taxes as part of honoring the Social Security Trust Fund, which also benefits me. So yeah, I have a dog in that fight also.

        Of course in politics it’s not all about mememememe either. But in the case of the new St. Croix bridge, it’s clear that the need is there and has been for over 30 years now, and that the MnDoT bridge is the best solution, and that the “sensible” alternative was already evaluated and found to be inadequate and an even bigger impact visually.

      • Charles II said

        David, I would like to have the road to my home paved in gold, with diamonds to mark the bike lane.

        I would not expect anyone to take me seriously if I asked that public dollars be spent on it.

      • David W. said

        Charles, the reason the bridge is as expensive as it is is due to its length and the environmental extras. One of the things noted in Sen. Kloubachar’s bill that was passed to build the bridge was that the environmental measures recommended by the U.S. Park Service were all included, as per the 2005 decision for the preferred alternative (the current MnDoT bridge proposal) that came out of that process. It will be money well spent to help protect the St. Croix River habitat, not pave anything in gold.

      • Charles II said

        If the bridge in my town is in bad shape, and you want the bridge in your town to be more expensive so that a few people don’t have to wait in traffic ten years from now, it doesn’t look any different than gold plating.

      • David W. said

        Again Charles, the issue here isn’t to beggar-thy-neighbor by pitting one town’s priorities against another’s (just like those who bitch about light rail say that money should be spent on roads instead), but to raise enough revenue to deal with the considerable backlog of needed infrastructure repair everywhere as well as fund transportation projects that will pay off in the future like rail will. I’d have a lot more respect for McCollum if she’d also make a strong case for raising fuel taxes. Even a nickle more a gallon more would be a big help.

      • Charles II said

        Raise the revenue so that the more-desperately-needed projects are funded, and I will have no problem with less-desperately-needed projects also getting funded. But So David W Can Drive to the Convenience Store in 15 Minutes Instead of 25 is not the basis for compelling public policy.

      • David W. said

        If it was just about mememememe, you’d have a point, Charles. But the need for a new bridge to serve thousands of people crossing the river has been there for decades and remarkably enough, still is.

  3. David W. said

    Speaking of Oak Park Heights, I’d be careful with trusting their figures if this from a recent Star Tribune article is any indication:

    Mayor David Beaudet of Oak Park Heights said relocating utilities along Hwy. 36 to a new bridge could cost as much as $20 million. Finding that money in his city of about 4,500 residents would cost about $400 per resident per year for 20 years, he said.

    Let’s see… 4,500 times $400 times 20 years equals… $36 million. Do the math… ;-)

    • Charles II said

      Let’s do the math a different way. $400 x 20 = $8000. That’s less than half what they charged me to re-do a bathroom.

      It’s very easy to believe that re-routing gas, water and sewer lines, buried cable, and electrical utilities could cost that much per household.

      As for the discrepancy between $20M and 4500 x 400 x 20, perhaps some of the homes would not require re-routing, while for most of the 4500 people it would cost $8,000?

      • David W. said

        I’d just like to see an actual estimate from either MnDoT or an engineering consultant for the cost of the relocation work. Also, it wouldn’t be family homes that would be assessed directly, since the entire length of Hwy 36 in Oak Park Heights is commercial. So instead of poor old families and retirees having to foot the bill, it’s the likes of Wal-Mart and Menard’s who would be affected, and they’re not paupers.

      • Charles II said

        I’m sure the mayor would like to see an estimate, too. His complaint is that no one is bothering to ask these questions before getting out the shovels.

      • David W. said

        Well, he must have seen something, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the mayor just pulled some numbers out from under his seat… ;-)

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