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To the editor: Idea of 'special bridge' isn't realistic

To the editor,

On the front page of this newspaper July 23, the lead articles were: "Costs emerge on bridge options" and "School Board makes it official: it will seek up to $19.2 million." We live in this conservative community where we are able to get the U.S. government to build us a new swimming pool, while our county commissioners tell us we are the lowest-taxed county in the state. What gives here? Where does this money come from?

"Our representatives on the Hastings City Council, the (State) Historic Preservation Office, and the Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission all rated the box girder bridge on the low end of their preferred bridge options, according to Keith Grauman of this newspaper. Why? One lame excuse is that the box girder bridge would take longer to build. It would take longer, but the vehicles would just continue with a two-lane bridge longer because they would be on the new span until the old span was torn down and the other two lane span was built. For $30 million, I think we could handle that. How many of us know who these people are on the "Visual Quality Team?" How do the people get on the "team"? I suspect they were appointed by members of the city council and/or these other fine committees. Do they understand the economic downturn we are presently in? Was there any dissent? Who's going to pay this extra $30 million? Minnesota tax payers or maybe, the federal government? But, hey, that's us, isn't it? I would like to have all these people stand up and state their reasons for spending $30 million dollars more than is needed to cross the Mississippi River, at the same time the Hastings School District is planning to ask for $19.2 million from the taxpayer to bring our buildings up to par. Is the idea of a "special bridge" realistic during these economic times? Finally, I would like to recognize that the people who made the decision to do away with the Spiral Bridge had some difficult decisions to make, but at least they made the proper choice, both economically and for traffic flow. Now we've got "Old Blue" for our bridge and it needs to be replaced, but I must say that the leaders of today aren't made of the same stuff as those who decided on the replacement of the Spiral Bridge.

Doug Riles