News from Representative Tom Emmer

Dear Friend,

From Annandale to Anoka, to Zimmerman heading towards St. Cloud, improving our transportation networks and fulfilling the need for expanded roads and safer bridges remains a priority for our District. Last week, I toured several infrastructure assets throughout the Sixth in need of repair. In Washington, we continue to raise awareness about the importance of these projects to thousands of Minnesotans and are pushing ahead to bring federal support back to our State for their repair.

Keep reading to learn more about our travels around the District…  

Repairing Deficient Bridges and Intersections


Photo: Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud Times

It is Congress’ responsibility to allocate funding for the repair and replacement of deficient roads and bridges. In the land of 10,000 lakes, our infrastructure networks connect our communities and get us to the places we need to go. From the supermarket, to grandma’s house, or up to the cabin, we use them every day, and we need them to be safe and reliable. 

Unfortunately, we have 405 bridges in our state that will need repair or even replacement over the next 10 years. Even more concerning, we have a total of 661 bridges in Minnesota that need repairs because they are deemed structurally deficient.

I visited one of these bridges last week in Stearns County. Built in 1954, the CSAH 75 bridge has served its community for nearly 70 years – and still supports the daily traffic of 23,400 passengers - but it has been deemed deficient by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It is just one example of the serious need for repair of aging infrastructure in our state.

The St. Cloud Times joined us on our tour of the bridge, and you can read their coverage of the visit here.


To date, one in every three bridges across our country needs some type of repair or replacement. In Minnesota alone, 1.5 million crossings over unstable bridges occur every day. When we consider our rural communities, the problem is magnified: over 80% of the bridges in need of repairs across our state are in rural areas. Our aging infrastructure costs families an average of $3,400 a year, in addition to untold amounts as a result of uncorrected safety hazards. 

I introduced a bill to repair, fix, and replace our state’s dilapidated bridges. Congress must continue to invest in the things that keep Minnesotans and our nation moving. The National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act creates a specialized grant program for bridge improvements, replacements, and repairs. It uses existing funds to help achieve the U.S. Department of Transportation’s stated goal of eliminating the backlog of bridge projects by 2032. 

Along with the vital safety upgrades that would result from improving our deficient bridges, addressing dangerous intersections is just as important. I visited one of these intersections in Zimmerman last week.

Over the years, 169/4 has seen a sharp uptick in accidents. The upgrade needed at this intersection is a grade-separated interchange. As reported in the Elk River Star News, the safety of the intersection is four times worse than that of similar intersections in the state as it relates to crash rates and severity.

One of Minnesota’s most pervasive problems is the daily commute with long delays, accidents, and preventable fatalities at intersections and rail-grade crossings. In fact, more than half of all crashes involving injuries occur at or near intersections. Twenty-eight percent of these crashes are fatal. It is clear this problem needs a solution, so I introduced the National Intersection and Interchange Safety Construction Program Act to establish a grant program to assist safety improvements for high-risk intersections and interchanges.

As I said at my visit to Zimmerman, I believe it is Congress’ constitutional obligation to secure whatever resources are available for our people at home. That is why I went to Washington in the first place.


Our intersections, roads, and bridges need attention now. Instead of coming together to fund the projects that will keep infrastructure safe for Americans, House Democrats recently put forward a bill that directs $1 of every $2 it will spend to comply with Green New Deal mandates and rejected widely-supported, bipartisan project streamlining provisions that would reduce the waste of taxpayer dollars.

Unfortunately, their package fell short of what we had hoped to see from a “bipartisan” infrastructure effort. I will always advocate for better and more reliable transportation routes for Minnesotans. Safety is my priority, and I am committed to ensuring it is maintained. 

Stay tuned for more of our work to ensure infrastructure improvements happen in a timely and commonsense way.

Until next week, if you are in need of assistance or would like to share your thoughts with me, please write me an e-mail here.

To keep up with what we’re doing in Washington, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!


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