By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum are at odds over a proposal to build a new bridge on the St. Croix River.

Bachmann introduced the new bill on Tuesday that would create a four-lane bridge and cost around $700 million.

Bill Harper is McCollum’s chief of staff. He said the bill directly violates the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

“This is a project that is fiscally irresponsible,” said Harper. “It’s environmentally damaging. And it just pushes traffic further into the east metro area.”

The Star Tribune quotes McCollum as saying she’ll, “do everything in my power” to stop the proposal.

Bachmann told reporters on Tuesday the criticism over the bridge comes from “radical environmental groups” who are upset with her for adding $500 million to the project.

The new bridge would replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge. Some say the current bridge is no longer able to handle the volume of traffic it currently takes.

Harper said what they recommend is an appropriately scaled bridge, not a highway.

“Which Minnesota officials, Wisconsin officials can work together with the National Park Service and local electives to design a new bridge that’s not a highway bridge. But one that’s appropriate for the river,” said Harper.

WCCO’s John Williams Interviews Bill Harper

Comments (28)
  1. JohnF says:

    Where would a 4 lane bridge be built? Four lanes running through the middle of downtown Stillwater would not be in anybody’s best interest, and certainly would only add to the congestion the people of Stillwater are already fighting. An extension of Hwy 36 or 95 south or north of the city would be the most logical if either could be done environmentally well.

    1. josh says:

      It will be built south of downtown by the waste water treatment plant, not in downtown.

      1. Lynn says:

        It would be built just minutes away from I-94 that crosses the river to Hudson. What a waste of our tax money!

  2. Murph says:

    Why not wait til after the apocalypse in 2012? In the meantime the politicians should just leave people alone and go party with their business tycoons and bankers! We are tired and either broke or nearly so already!

  3. TimP says:

    Will this be Bachman’s bridge to no where? It’s a sisterhood thing.

  4. stupid knows no political distinction says:

    Michelle has been up every night now for 2 years trying to figure out how she can pull this one off for her cronies w/o looking like a Porker herself. Well – they musta said get going toots, get going.
    We so flush with CASH it’s not a problem,,,,’specially after we gut everything else
    I am a Republican at heart but I detest this woman beyond words. She does more harm than a nuclear bomb ever could to the party.

    1. ask4j says:

      Thanks there’s a few thinking folks remaining on the right side of the border!!

  5. Frustrated says:

    What else will fix the traffic issue in Stillwater? Hoping that people who live across the river will just stay there and not work on “our” side of the river is a fantasy. Would Wisconsin have a say or some fiscal responsibility for the bridge?

  6. Todd says:

    How well said “stupid knows”. This freaking bridge will just put more people over in WI and then what next? Hwy 36 will HAVE to be expanded so the WI people don’t have to wait. Then bridges over all the roads with stoplights so they don’t have to wait. This bridge is for Wisconsin. Let them pay for it. How about a ferry so they can have a nice ride over the river at $10 a pop? Some enterprising soul will surly pay for it if they can make $.

    1. Frustrated says:

      I like the ferry idea! Works for Washington State!

      1. Lynn says:

        Yes… I like that idea too!

  7. gtV says:

    Here we go again! When is the St.Croix Bridge ever going to be built? Just think of all the verbal and environmental nonsensical pollution that has been expended over and on this matter. Unless something is done very soon in the present, the present Stillwater Bridge will close or fall into the river; Stillwater will become an economic depressed zone; and, worse yet, Stillwater will become a ghostly wayside MN-95 historic whistle-stop ghost town.

    At this rate, I am avoiding downtown Stillwater altogether except for an occasional libation and will take detours around the town to get to Wisconsin. Seems like Minnesota is in a ‘state’ of progression regression and the tree huggers win this one without giving any plausible solution for progressive environmental policy.

    Thirty years of bridge discussion or debate with no ending in sight. Is this the MN way of doing things??? LOL! LMAO!!! I rest my case.

    That’s MN progress for today!

  8. Victim Du Jour says:

    Last night I baked up some soup in a pie crust. Chicken pot pie. It’s not the taxpayers problem that some people want their pot pie pre-made.

  9. Bonzo says:

    This is the fiscally conservative, government spends too much of our money Michelle Bachmann, wanting to add half a billion taxpayer dollars to this project?

    Can’t be!!

  10. Dave Campbell says:

    I can’t help but wonder who showed Michelle where Stillwater is on a map. I had completely given up hope that she remembered where the 6th district was located. Once Governor walker gets done busting up the unions in Wisconsin, they should have plenty of cash to put towards a new bridge so that their resident can drive to Minnesota to work!

    1. GH says:

      I don’t just work in Minnesota..I buy my clothes, food, cars, home goods (you can see where I’m going). If Minnesota doesn’t want my business fine!! I will go to the stores in Hudson and Stillwater can become a no name useless and dying dot on the map. Maybe people should think about the money people in Wisconsin spend in Minnesota before they pitch a fit about this bridge.

      1. Irv says:

        I agree. This is a two way deal. WI and MN will benefit and most certainly Stillwater will benefit from an improved bridge. Notice people, this is federal money we are talking about here. If they don’t spend this federal money here on this project it will be spent in Alaska or somewhere else on their project. If you’ve seen the Stillwater bredge lately you will know how bad of shape it is in. Are we going to wait for it to go I-35 on us and then yell because the politicians didn’t do something about it. Get the two states together to figure out the plan and get this thing going. P.s. I despize Michelle and think she is doing this to further her political run at pres, but it is good for the area nonthe less.

      2. Dave Campbell says:

        I’m guessing you save a fair amount of money by shopping in Minnesota. Buying food and clothing over here and not paying sales tax must be a big plus for you WI residents. Thanks for all the help we get from you when it comes to maintaining the roads you use over here!

  11. Dave Campbell says:

    If Stillwater drys up and becomes a ghost town, maybe Bachmann will move to Wisconsin!

    1. GH says:

      Not really Dave. The cost for me to drive to the malls in Minnesota make up for the sales tax I don’t have to pay. Unless you are directly affected by this you should stay out of it. It’s not going to cost you anything and it will bring even more business into Minnesota.
      BTW…since you hate Wisconsin so much maybe you should some other place to buy you booze on Sundays and your fireworks for your summer holidays

      1. Dave Campbell says:

        GH, you must have seen someone else buying booze in your fair state on Sundays and fireworks for my summer holidays! Never have and never will! I have always been smart enough to pick up anything I need on Saturday.

  12. BD says:

    I could care less if they built a bridge, they should have never built the freeway from New Richmond to Houlton without a new bridge in place. I thought it would have been much wiser for Wisconsin to build a freeway from New Richmond to somewhere by Roberts. That way they could direct consumers to Hudson to purchase goods therefore reaping the revenue from the sales tax instead of it going to Minnesota.

  13. What side Are You on? says:

    “Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers, which named the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway one of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” in 2009, said Bachmann’s bill “creates a loophole that strips the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway of its Wild and Scenic River protections.

    In addition, Wodder said the legislation would set a dangerous precedent for other federally protected Wild and Scenic rivers nationwide. “

    Bachmann is going to embarrass Minnesota residence when the rest of the U.S. finds out Bachmann’s priority in creating green jobs is wiping out our NATIONAL WILDLIFE AND SCENIC WATERWAY on the lower St.Croix River.

    1. Jerry says:

      Bachmann creating green jobs? She’s killing green jobs by discouraging people from buying energy saving lightbulbs.

  14. Dave Campbell says:

    Perhaps Governor Walker could have pledged the budget surplus he inherited to the building of a new bridge instead of giving it to his cronies in the form of tax breaks! If anyone happens to see him, please remind him he still owes Minnesota 58 million dollars.

  15. Sane Stillwater Citizen says:

    Maybe Bachmann would think twice before she ruined a scenic area if she wasn’t parading around the usa preaching the bible while wrapped in the american flag. She doesn’t represent the residents. Most people around town HATE her.

    Her District support comes from the areas where there aren’t any trees and all the houses look exactly the same. I can’t express how much I hate her in words. Oh, by the way, why should we ruin our beautiful and scenic area so a bunch of Wisconsinites can work in Minnesota? They’re not affected, because across the river is a town of like 500 people. It isn’t developed.

    How about the drive the 10 miles down to the MAJOR interstate 94 and take that to their high paying jobs? Or maybe if they didn’t all drive huge SUVs that they drive to feel big, we wouldn’t have so much angst around the world. The more than you need mentality represents that. How about Wisconsin stops sucking and provides some jobs so they don’t ruin our gorgeous area.

    I’ve never heard someone who wasn’t a bible preacher support Bachmann, and we will NOT let this happen. Again, she doesn’t even live here. She’s the new Sarah Palin. Ever hear her on MPR? Nope. Always Faux News. Gah.

  16. ask4j says:

    Sorry for the late response but I was there the day the bridge closed and Gov. Dayton put in a surprise appearance–one of the Senators was with him (not Bachman, thank god) and he asked us our open. Well, first off we are not from Stillwater, the people of Stillwater should be making the decision but as an outsider’s view—isn;t it common sense that if/when/and if it should be built it why not away from Stillwater and at least half the expense paid by Wisconsin since it is their people who commute over the bridge daily. Stillwater has history it is one of our oldest cities and the lift bridge is part of it’s history moving into the modern era–get rid of this unnecessary traffic it is ruining the city. Leave it alone and build elsewhere.

  17. Imran Khan says:

    This might be the greatest blog around!!

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