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Gronemus calls Winona Bridge closure a disaster; blames Doyle for transportation raid

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news New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Gronemus calls Winona Bridge closure a disaster; blames Doyle for transportation raid

A western Wisconsin legislator says the closing of the Mississippi River bridge at Winona is a disaster for her area.

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Assembly Democrat Barb Gronemus, Whitehall, says it shows why Gov. Jim Doyle was wrong to take $100 million in gas tax revenues to balance other parts of the state budget.

Gronemus, who's not running for re-election this fall, says funds for bridge and highway maintenance need to be stable and the shutdown of Winona's only bridge shows why.

The bridge was closed after Minnesota inspectors found rusted-out connectors to the concrete. One plate was so rusty an inspector's hammer went right through it.

For three days last week, 2,800 Wisconsinites had to travel up to 100 miles out of their way to and from their jobs in Winona.

Gronemus, whose 91st District covers parts of Pierce County, says it's also causing problems for farmers to move their products.

Starting today (Monday), commuters can ride a bus and service ferry service for $15 a week. It will cost the City of Winona about $85,000 dollars a week.

Minnesota promises to pay half the cost.

Also today, a public meeting will be held in Winona where a community bridge coalition will be proposed. Local users will band together perhaps to decide if a new bridge should be built and where.

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