Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Posts Tagged ‘Boondoggle Bridge’

$700 Million Boondoggle Bridge: About What We Spent On New Orleans After Katrina

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 1, 2012

I see that Bachmann’s being allowed, in the wake of the Triumph of the Shill, to get away again with lying about the cost of the Boondoggle Bridge that is now going to destroy the scenic beauty of the Stillwater area as well as the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The bridge “only” costs $200 million if you ignore the $500 million in ground work and roadway redesign needed to make it happen. As Karl Bremer says, it’s like claiming the Vikings stadium boondoggle will be dirt cheap — that claim only works if you leave out the seats, parking lots, walls, everything but the field.

$700 million. That’s what the Feds authorized to rebuild all of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and that’s what they’re now going to spend on a bridge that will in the year 2030 see at most 23,100 vehicles — less than one-fifth the current traffic of the new I-35 bridge, which cost under $250 million.

All of this to provide make-work jobs for workers who would be better used to fix the dozens of truly needy bridges that now won’t get fixed because the Boondoggle will suck up all the money that would otherwise go to fixing them — and (the key reason, I suspect) to please northwestern Wisconsin real estate developers who hope, despite all reasonable evidence, that the bridge will magically reinflate the 1990s property bubble. (The “traffic” argument is a dodge — there would be no “traffic” problem if MnDOT would have allowed the lift bridge schedule, which currently calls for far too many lifts, to be reworked — but of course MnDOT has bought into the Boondoggle Bridge, so its managers won’t do anything that might remove the perceived need for it.)

There are many, many bridges that are in far greater need of repair or than the Stillwater lift bridge, which was itself given a substantial overhaul in 2007. When these bridges fall apart because there was no money to fix them, will anyone remember that the Boondoggle will have been the chief reason why these bridges weren’t fixed?

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Will Redistricting Mean An End To Boondoggle Bridge Plans?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 23, 2012

It’s been a good news, bad news kinda week so far for Michele Bachmann.

The good news: The Stillwater area, the most liberal part of her district, now is in another district thanks to redistricting — which means that she’s Congresswoman-for-Life, with the Wright County Megachurchers backing her. (Well, so long as they’re not too upset that she doesn’t want to live near them, being that she lives in the Stillwater area.)

The bad news: The Stillwater area is where her pet boondoggle, the planned $700 million replacement for a historic bridge that MnDOT says is safe and doesn’t need replacing, is slated to go — and now that area is in the CD of Betty McCollum, who has been opposed to the $700 million Boondoggle Bridge from the get-go.

As Karl Bremer says over at Ripple in Stillwater:

Bachmann’s marquee issue—the $700-million Boondoggle Bridge across the St. Croix River—will be null and void for her if she decides to run in the 6th CD, as the proposed new bridge site in Oak Park Heights, the City of Stillwater and the old Stillwater Lift Bridge are now in the 4th CD—McCollum’s district. That will leave the Star-Tribune and Pioneer Press newspaper editorialists, along with Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki and his cronies, looking like fools for chastising McCollum to stay out of the bridge debate because it’s not in her district. This scenario would clearly make the bridge debate McCollum’s issue and not Bachmann’s.

Indeed. And, as it turns out, Bachmann is indeed going to run in the Sixth, even though she now lives in the Fourth.

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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.

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Betty McCollum On Boondoggle Bridge: “Albatross”, “Bad Policy”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 29, 2012

Proponents of the Boondoggle Bridge proposal are fond of mythmaking. One favored myth is that there is no sensible alternative to a $700 million four-lane bridge that will see less than 20,000 cars a day and which will connect a small Minnesota river town with an even tinier Wisconsin river hamlet in an area where the real-estate bubble’s bursting has pretty much ended for the next few decades the dream of its becoming the next major Twin Cities exurb. Another favored myth is that the Boondoggle Bridge is unstoppable and that resistance is futile.

My congresswoman, Betty McCollum, begs to differ with both of these myths. From her newsletter:

Congresswoman McCollum Reacts to Senate Passage of St. Croix Legislation (S. 1134)

This week, the Senate passed legislation, which would authorize the construction of a $700 million extra-dosed mega-bridge over the St. Croix River. S. 1134 would also grant permission for this bridge to violate the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act – an essential environmental protection. For over 20 years, Congresswoman McCollum has advocated for a smaller, more cost-effective solution that doesn’t violate environmental policy. Local officials, community advocates, and Minnesotans agree.

“It’s no surprise that Senator Klobuchar’s bill passed the Senate,” responded Congresswoman McCollum. “But in the House, we need to find a common sense compromise because a $700 million bridge across the St. Croix River is bad fiscal policy, bad transportation policy, and bad environmental policy.”

This is where we get to see how serious Republicans are about avoiding pork-barrel politics.

Just how big of a wasteful, platinum-plated, luxury albatross is this thing? It’s planned to cost nearly three times as much as did the new I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, which was built with top-of-the-line materials, carries 140,000 cars a day, and was built for less than $250 million. They weakened the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for this?

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