Updated below. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann threw her support Monday behind the effort to widen I-94 from Maple Grove through St. Michael to Monticello.
"We all talk about jobs. This is the biggest job grower that we can think of," Bachmann said, according to a tweet by WCCO's Pat Kessler.
See more tweets about Bachmann and the I-94 project in the Storify above (use the scroll bar at the right of the window) or at Storify.com.
Bachmann held what was billed as a "Transportation Press Conference" Monday morning at the State Office Building near the Minnesota Capitol.
Update (12:30 p.m.): According to the Star Tribune's Hot Dish Politics blog, Bachmann said she supported $400 million in government spending on the project:
"This is one of the supreme duties of government, that no one can do privately is build roads and bridges and interchanges and we are woefully behind on infrastructure."
Hot Dish Politics also reported Bachmann successfully dodged all questions on her political future, telling reporters: "Good try! Good try! You guys are great!"
Community leaders from St. Michael and Monticello have been looking forward to Bachmann's endorsement.
Marc Weigle, City of St. Michael community development director, said in an email message before the event, "The I-94 Corridor Coalition is a collaboration of Wright County, Albertville, Monticello, Otsego, Rogers, St. Michael and
the I-94 West Chamber to bring about improvements to I-94. The
improvement of I-94 will help move goods and people—enhancing economic
activity for everyone along the corridor."
See the coalition's flier by clicking on the PDF thumbnail.
State Rep. David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville) introduced House File 1292 before the House Transportation Policy Committee on March 13, 2013. From his press release:
The bill calls for MNDOT to prioritize the expansion from 4 to 6 lanes the portion of I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael in the next four years so that further expansion to Albertville and Monticello can take place in future years. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus transportation bill.
“This expansion of I-94 from Rogers to St. Michael is a vital step that will allow future highway expansions to Albertville, Monticello, and beyond,” said FitzSimmons. “This project is important to commuters, businesses, shipping, and tourism throughout the Northwest metro and Central Minnesota.”
The measure, authored by fellow Wright County legislator Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Buffalo) is also supported by the Central Minnesota Transportation Alliance made up of St. Cloud are local governments and business groups, who believe expansion is vital to a healthy St. Cloud area.
The list of testifiers in favor of bill included St. Michael City Administrator Steve Bot, Wright County Commissioner Michael Potter, Carl Kuhl of the Central MN Transportation Alliance, and St. Michael City Councilman Joe Marx.