Senate panel passes bridge bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee approved a bill Thursday morning paving the way for the construction of a new bridge spanning the St. Croix River in Stillwater.

The bill would waive a section of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that has thus far prevented the project from going forward. Funding for nearly all the $690 million bridge has already been appropriated. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Senate sponsor, offered an offset for $8 million in new spending yesterday and the committee attached it to the bill today.

A House panel passed a version of the bill in October. Both bills now await floor consideration.

The bill has bipartisan support from the Minnesota and Wisconsin congressional delegations (Michele Bachmann introduced the bill in the House). Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison have lead the charge against the bridge, and they were joined yesterday by a contingent of state lawmakers who wrote a letter to the delegations opposing it.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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