The Sensible Stillwater Bridge Partnership probably has the best name of any advocacy group anywhere. This Pioneer Press graphic shows why:
The article from which that image was stolen also contains what may be the most outrageous statement of the year, from someone whom MnDOT pays to lie for them:
MnDOT’s Adam Josephson said the main problem with the plan is its location. Placing the bridge among “so many natural and cultural resources would have a significant environmental impact,” he said.
“It’s got other problems, but its location is the main problem,” he said. “The problem is that it has more environmental impacts (than MnDOT’s proposed location). That’s the reason why we located the bridge where we did. We have to avoid, as much as possible, impacts to protected resources.”
The Sensible Partners for Sensibility have come up with this excellent graphic, showing exactly how massively gigantic MnDOT’s bridge is (it’s worth clicking through for the entire graphic):
The notion that a half-mile long bridge that’s 40 to 110 feet above the waterline would have greater impact than a one-mile bridge that’s 110 to 220 feet above the waterline is so preposterous that it’s insulting. Let me say it again: MnDOT expects us to believe that the bridge that’s half as long and half as tall has the greater environment impact.
On top of that whopper, MnDOT is using its own system of overpriced and politicized consultancies to pretend the much smaller bridge won’t save as much money:
If the [Sensible Bridge] plan were adopted, MnDOT would have to go back and do further environmental review, Josephson said.
“That could take four to six years…to get back to the point we are at today,” he said. “That could delay the project to 2019 or later.”
[The Sensible Bridge] plan would cost about $394 million – $300 million less than the one being considered by Congress. The $111 million increase in their cost estimate reflected several changes near the Minnesota approach to the bridge, partnership officials said.
The St. Croix River Crossing proposed by MnDOT and supported by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn., is expected to cost $574 million to $690 million.
But Josephson said the partnership proposal would cost about the same as MnDOT’s [Bloated Bridge] plan because of the extra costs due to additional environmental impacts and construction delay.
Three years ago, I gave a few bucks to a certain comedian who’s now a Senator officially if halfheartedly supporting the Bloated Bridge. That money bought my freedom from six years of spotlight on a weasel who used to run St Paul, but it also made me subject to a barrage of emails from a corrupt gang of incompetent lushes whose only notable accomplishment has been to kill the one successful grassroots political movement that ever existed in this state.*
Anyway, one of their recent emails, besides begging for my cash to use on vague and dubious projects, rightfully decried the condition of local government finances. Of course, the situation was blamed on their rival political gang, and no mention was made of the two gangs’ collusion on projects like the Bloated Bridge.
One of many things that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum agree on is that we need to continue to throw money at our ridiculously overbuilt automotive infrastructure. As Strong Towns has pointed out, Stillwater’s Bloated Bridge is an acceleration of the decades-long process of self-bankruptcy driven by our broken political system. If only MnDOT could remember that its job is not to just build stuff, but to ensure the safety and functionality of our transportation system. Maybe the latter will require building a bridge in Stillwater, but no sensible interpretation of MnDOT’s mission would require the bridge to be built big, fast and now.
*I exaggerate slightly here for the sake of cantankerousness