St. Croix Bridge Toll

An article in today’s Star Tribune about funding options for the St. Croix Bridge boondoggle suggests the possibility of a toll.  Interesting.  The actual toll of this bridge won’t be realized until it is built.

From start to finish, this bridge is a bad idea, but we wouldn’t expect less today.

Let’s think like a politician…or more importantly, let’s think like a politician representing Minnesotans.

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

Lining up behind the untarnished wisdom and deep intellect of Michele Bachmann, no less, the Minnesota delegation pushed for an over-sized, high-priced bridge to Wisconsin.  The Twin Cities — the region’s economic hub — is in Minnesota.  The bridge offers little more than a conduit for Wisconsinites to evade taxes that support the economic engine that benefits them.  Good call, Minnesota!

It also sets up one of those classic (and misleading) scenarios where the “makers” threaten to abandon the “takers” by fleeing across the border to a lower-tax state.

The bridge essentially tethers Minnesota to Wisconsin in a tax-parity sort of way.  The problem is, western Wisconsin isn’t Minnesota.  Those people across the river enjoy the benefits and advantages that strong a strong economic and social center bring and Minnesota’s delegation is happy to buy them a way to benefit from it.  Dispersing our tax base seems like the right for a Minnesota politician to do.

Honestly, Amy Klobuchar‘s enthusiasm for the project cost her my vote this year.  It was the last straw.  I have only voted for her in the past because she’s a Democrat.  I am not a big fan.  She gives Milquetoast and cheerleaders a bad name.  When you’re a leader, lead.  Don’t follow the likes of Michele Bachman, for Christs’s sake, and come up with meaningful projects.  Boo hiss Amy.

I hate to say it, but the same should be said to Mark Dayton, Al Franken, et al.

And of course this bridge will bring about a toll of another sort.  Environment degradation.  When towns like New Richmond and St. Joseph become cities like Woodbury you can kiss your starry nights good-bye, but that’s not the worst of it.

Federal legislation to protect wild and scenic rivers was enacted precisely because environmental interests needed protection from economic interests.  Left to the short-sighted propensities of the free market, tomorrow’s resources will be squandered today.  And guess what…we disregarded that reasoning and the laws set to protect it in favor of purely economic interests.

Klobucharetown or Bachmannville?

Klobucharetown or Bachmannville?

Good job, Minnesota politicians.  I would expect this from Bachmann and (regrettably) Klobuchar, but where is the backbone from the rest of our progressive delegation?  Fail.

I have said it repeatedly here and elsewhere, rivers are more than that body of water flowing through a valley.  Rivers are the watershed that surround them.  Strip malls and suburban lawns up and down the Wisconsin side of the river do not bode well for the St. Croix River.

I need to cut this short (!) because I am heading out to Afton Alps to ski this morning.

When I was a boy the land from Newport to Afton was mostly farmland.  I know, I know…populations grow and things change…but what was once a mix of small growth residential and semi-rural landscape is now giving way to large tracts of suburban homes and hideous malls and office parks.  A few giant schools and churches, too.  (How can you know your classmates and neighbors in those things?)

If you don’t think that will happen in Wisconsin, then I have to ask…why build such a proportionately larger bridge to replace the smaller existing Stillwater Bridge?

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