Majority of Minn. lawmakers support St. Croix Bridge project

5:59 PM, Feb 29, 2012   |    comments
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STILLWATER, Minn. -  Let's start with what most everyone agrees on no matter their party: the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge has done its job and it is time for an upgrade.

"You look at the bridge and you see it is in need of repair, it's not going to last forever. Simply, its time it gets replaced," Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said Tuesday night.

For 20 years, folks have been trying to get that done to no avail. But now, it just might happen.

On Thursday, Congress is scheduled to vote on the $690 million bridge project that would connect Highway 36 in Oak Park Heights to Highway 64 in Wisconsin.

The Senate has already voted yes.

Governor Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker agree on the plan and even Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken agree with House Republican Michele Bachmann that this plan is right and the time to do it is now.

"This is one of the longest if not the longest unfinished bridge projects in the history of the United States. So I think we all see the unique opportunity to get this built now and to get it done," Representative Bachmann said Tuesday from Washington D.C.

Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum is strongly against this plan saying it's too expensive, will cost Oak Park Heights' taxpayers money, create traffic misery and overall concluding that it is a bad bill in its entirety.

Not all in her party agree.

KARE 11 polled the entire Minnesota Congressional delegation.

Those who say they will vote yes for the bridge are Democrat Tim Walz and Republicans John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack.

Those who will cast a no vote are Democrats Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison.

The only Congressman who did not respond to our question was Democrat Colin Peterson.

The Mayor of Stillwater is all too familiar with the politics at play here but his final plea is pretty simple.

"Its not a democrat bridge and its not a republican bridge. It's a bridge that serves the people of Minnesota and they were elected to serve the people of Minnesota," Mayor Harycki said.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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