Northern News Now

By Robb Coles

DULUTH, MN. - Sunday one of Minnesota’s U.S. Senators made a stop in Duluth.

Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar is raising awareness about efforts to obtain federal funding for the Blatnik Bridge Project.

She was joined by Duluth Mayor-Elect Roger Reinert, Duluth Chamber of Commerce President Matt Baumgartner, and Jack Carlson with the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council.

Klobuchar and other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle from our region have been advocating to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and President Biden to help fund the project.

To be completed, 50 percent of the funding will have to come from the federal government.

According to Klobuchar, the Blatnik Bridge is a pillar of the state’s economy, and it’s vital the rebuilding project is completed.

“When you think of northern Minnesota and everything going back and forth and the progress that we’ve seen that we must build on. And I know that the Mayor and the Chamber and Labor is committed to building on this progress that we’ve seen,” Senator Klobuchar said.

More than 33,000 cars travel across the bridge every day.

It’s also responsible for transporting $4 billion worth of goods each year.

According to Jack Carlson, the rebuilding project would also bring hundreds of good-paying construction jobs to the Twin Ports.

He said it could be a once-in-a-lifetime build for workers in our region.

“When they drive by or they drive across over to Wisconsin and vice versa they can say, ‘I built this bridge’ and they can take a huge sense of pride into that,” said Carlson.

According to Carlson, the wages from the rebuilding effort would put food on the table for many families for several years and help pay into retirement pensions for workers.

Duluth Mayor-Elect Roger Reinert also spoke at the event about the importance of transportation in Duluth.

“In Duluth, we pride ourselves on being a transportation hub. We have the airport, we have the port, we have rail, and of course, we have our freeway system. And we thrive because of that,” said Mayor-Elect Reinert.

Reinert also thanked Mayor Larson for the work she and her staff put into the project over the past few years.

Klobuchar is pushing to get the grant funding secured within the next month.