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StillwaterjointletterNov2011

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					The Wisconsin State Legislature                      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          Rep. Brett Hulsey             Sen. D. Scott Dibble
Minneapolis, Minnesota        Madison, Wisconsin            Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rep. Terese Berceau           Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber Rep. Bobby Joe Champion
Madison, Wisconsin            Appleton, Wisconsin        Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rep. Chris Danou              Sen. Chris Eaton           Rep. Andrew Falk
Trempealeau, Wisconsin        Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Murdock, Minnesota

Rep. Kerry Gauthier           Rep. Mindy Greiling           Rep. Alice Hausman
Duluth, Minnesota             Roseville, Minnesota          St. Paul, Minnesota

Sen. Jeff Hayden              Sen. Linda Higgins            Rep. Bill Hilty
Minneapolis, Minnesota        Minneapolis, Minnesota        Finlayson, Minnesota

Rep. Sheldon Johnson          Rep. Phyllis Kahn             Rep. Carlos Mariani
St. Paul, Minnesota           Minneapolis, Minnesota        St. Paul, Minnesota

Sen. John Marty               Sen. Mary Jo McGuire          Rep. Nick Milroy
Roseville, Minnesota          Falcon Heights, Minnesota     South Range, Wisconsin

Rep. Joe Mullery              Rep. Erin Murphy              Rep. Kim Norton
Minneapolis, Minnesota        St. Paul, Minnesota           Rochester, Minnesota

Sen. Sandra L. Pappas         Rep. Kelda Roys               Rep. Bev Scalze
St. Paul, Minnesota           Madison, Wisconsin            Little Canada, Minnesota

Rep. Linda Slocum             Rep. Chris Taylor             Rep. Ryan Winkler
Richfield, Minnesota          Madison, Wisconsin            Golden Valley, Minnesota


cc:    Governor Mark Dayton
       Governor Scott Walker

				
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