A legal strategy using the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to block construction of a new St. Croix River bridge would be overturned if Congress adopts legislation sponsored by two Congressional veterans and one newcomer.
It’s the first time that Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind and Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachmann have worked together to resolve the decades-old fight over replacing the 84 year old Stillwater lift bridge.
“Literally we’ve got bridges now falling down in the United States of America killing people and I don’t want to see that happen across the St. Croix River,” says Kind.
Opponents of the bridge are citing its $ 700-million cost in trying to get the new governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin to block any further state funding.
Bachmann is one of the most polarizing members of Congress and Kind acknowledges this might be a difficult bill to move. He says it’s important to “get everyone on the same page,” with new governors in both states and a freshman US Senator in Wisconsin. Freshman House Republican Sean Duffy of Wisconsin is also co-sponsoring the measure.
Construction of the new bridge was set to start in 2013 but has been put off indefinitely by a federal judge’s ruling that the project violates the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Kind says he’s received support from the Obama Administration to override National Park Service opposition to the new bridge.