MNDOT Redirects Stillwater Bridge Funds to Pedestrian, Transit Projects

The St. Croix Bridge project, which will be cancelled

In a dramatic reversal, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has halted the new Stillwater Bridge project and redirected the funds to pedestrian and transit projects across the state.  When streets.mn asked MNDOT about the sudden decision, MNDOT spokesman Brian Anderson-Johnson replied,

After careful research, we realized that there are pedestrian corridors and transit projects that carry much more traffic each day than the proposed new bridge.  We also learned that these projects are located in the heart of our state’s most economically productive places, and these investments would have dramatically higher returns on investment for our state than a bridge to some corn fields.  We were shocked to learn that money for pedestrian projects in particular pales in comparison to what we spend on state highways and interstates.  We aim to correct this imbalance.  We kind of regret that bridge idea, I guess we were just doing what we’ve always done.

A rendering of the new Macy's skyway bypass

A rendering of the new Macy’s skyway bypass

Projects targeted for the redirected funding include an expansion and bypass of the Macy’s skyway bottleneck in Minneapolis, which carries 28,000 trips per day, or 150% of the bridge’s forecasted traffic, support for the Nicollet Mall rebuild project, which carries 20,000 pedestrians per day, or 110% of the bridge’s forecasted traffic, an upgrade to the dynamic signage for Metro Transit’s blue line, which carries 30,000 trips per day, the build-out of an 11-line arterial BRT system, which would carry 137,000 trips per day, and sidewalk resurfacing in downtown Stillwater near that one really popular ice cream place.

Anderson-Johnson said that the approximately $100 million remaining balance after expenditures on the other projects would be used to implement congestion-based tolling on the I-94 bridge over the St. Croix to improve traffic flow.

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9 Responses to MNDOT Redirects Stillwater Bridge Funds to Pedestrian, Transit Projects

  1. Jeff Klein April 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Well now this is just getting mean!

    That bridge may well be the most depressing decision made in the last five years.

  2. Adam Miller
    Adam April 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Okay, who’s next.

    But I like the image of the Macy’s bypass. Amusing.

  3. Charles Marohn April 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Awesome. It is really, really tragic when you stop and consider just what could have been done with all that money we just threw away on a redundant bridge for far exurban commuters. Great post.

  4. Zack April 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Aw, this April Fools joke just makes me sad to think about what great news that would actually be and how much damn sense it would make!

  5. Monte Castleman
    Monte April 2, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    I know you’re trying to be funny and I’m the only one that posts here that strongly supports the St Croix Crossing project, but I thought more details on the math would be interesting. To get a fair value of the opportunity cost, you have to use Minnesota’s 55% share, and let’s say the middle range of the cost estimates ($580-$676 million- for a while they thought it was going to be on the low side, but then one of the low bids wasn’t politically correct enough so they went with a higher one) so you have an opportunity cost, so you have $345.4 million that could presumably be spent on other things in Minnesota. Adding up the capital costs for the arterial buses you get $351.8; so we could fund that, and whether we should is a fair opinion, but there wouldn’t be enough money for anything else.

    • Sam Newberg
      Sam Newberg April 2, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Huh?

      • Monte Castleman
        Monte April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am #

        I’m pointing out the bridge opponents tend to overestimate the amount of money we’d have to spend on other things if we didn’t build it, by using the high end of estimates, rounding up (I’ve actually heard it called the “billion dollar bridge”, and assuming that Minnesota is paying 100% of the cost instead of 55%.

  6. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg April 2, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Well done, Brendon. Just for the record, I don’t support the Macy’s bypass project – no foolin’!

  7. Cameron Conway
    Cameron Conway April 2, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    This is some very dark humor.

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