Washington, DC — Today U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation to allow the St. Croix River bridge project to move forward has passed the House of Representatives and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Klobuchar led the effort in the Senate to pass the bill, which cleared the chamber in January and was cosponsored by Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) and supported by both Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The House version of the bill was sponsored by U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and supported by U.S. Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Chip Cravaack (R-MN), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).
“After thirty years of debate and delay, we finally got it done,” said Klobuchar.“Today is a victory for the residents and businesses along the St. Croix River Valley who have waited long enough for a safe, new bridge. This effort is an example of what can get done when people put politics aside and do what is best for our state. I appreciate the work of my colleagues in the House and Senate as well as Governor Dayton who helped get this project over the finish line.”
This past summer Klobuchar and Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of the bipartisan legislation and emphasized the importance of the project to the community. That paved the way for the bill to be considered by the U.S. Senate where Klobuchar secured its passage unanimously.
Included in the legislation is a package of mitigation efforts to protect the St. Croix River that were developed by consulting the Department of Transportation and National Park Service. The mitigation measures were agreed to in 2006 by the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources. The mitigation plan would help promote scenic and recreational values of the St. Croix River by eliminating existing man-made structures, protecting river bluff lands, restoring park land, and ensuring public boat access.
The current St. Croix River crossing is at the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge. As the bridge has aged, closings for structural and vehicle collision repairs and maintenance inspections have increased. In addition, the bridge’s unique function as a lift bridge, which lifts frequently to allow boats to travel the St. Croix River, is a source of severe traffic congestion.