by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Sixth District Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann visited the State Capitol today (March 18) to push for funding of a lane expansion on I-94.
Bachmann, backed by a contingent of north metro lawmakers and officials, is looking for $25 million to add an extra lane in each direction on I-94 between Highways 101 and 241.
The initiative is part of long-term vision to provide additional lanes on the heavily travelled interstate from Maple Grove to St. Cloud.
“This is a doable project,” Bachmann said, recounting the years of wrangling over the Stillwater bridge funding recently solved.
“You add lanes, you add jobs,” she said.
She has spoken to the House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, Bachmann said, and described the initiative as having “traction.”
The congresswoman indicted that finding funding the project was a matter of aligning priorities.
A Minnesota Department of Transportation official described the proposed lane proposal as a worthy project, but indicated it was not one to be addressed immediately.
In addition to seeking funding for the I-94 lanes, north metro officials are also looking for dollars for Highway 10.
Bachmann indicated funding the projects rightfully should involve federal money.
But Bachmann, when asked whether she supported increasing the federal gas tax to provide additional transportation dollars, argued that wasn’t relevant to the projects.
The congresswoman said she has conferred with Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken about the transportation projects.
Her involvement, Bachmann explained, was the outcome of hundreds of meetings within the district.
Officials from businesses along I-94 and Highway 10 spoke about the importance of the corridors to conducting business.
Tim Budig can be reached at email@example.com.