Fresh off another round of negotiations on a pending “fast-track” for trade agreements, Vice President Joe Biden went to St. Paul on Wednesday to sell Gov. Mark Dayton’s $1.2 billion plan to rehabilitate five crumbling Minnesota bridges over the next two years.
According to an AP report, “Biden and Dayton struck an agreement this week to prioritize 16 main arteries within Minnesota, including the Southwest/Mayo Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities, and the Clearbrook-Gonvick Bridge and the St. Croix River Bridge over the St. Croix River in northwestern Minnesota.”
“Without a single bridge, there is no connectivity in the northwest part of the state,” the AP report added. “Those two span the St. Croix River to the Twin Cities and provide an alternative route for visitors to the metropolitan area.”
Details of the plan are still sketchy, although a state transportation official said the effort would involve new highways, better traffic signals and rail links.
“We just need to take a look at how we’re going to fund it over the next two years,” Valeda said.
Minnesota officials first recommended the bridge repairs in 2011 as part of a larger plan to improve transportation. “This is the first time that has been agreed upon in terms of when it comes back into the budget cycle,” Valeda said.