Three prominent Minnesota politicians have expressed a desire this week to build a new bridge over the St. Croix River, connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Democrats Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann each visited the site of the current bridge this week. Klobuchar plans to introduce legislation that would lead to a new bridge, while Bachmann has already proposed legislation.
Bachmann joined Dayton, along with other state and local leaders from both Minnesota and Wisconsin, on a visit to the current bridge site on Friday.
"Today's discussion was an important milestone to bring the involved parties together as we proceed to build a needed bridge over the St. Croix for the residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin," said Bachmann told the St. Croix Valley Press. We all agree something must be done because the current lift bridge can't sustain 18,000 drivers a day much longer."
Dayton also expressed interest in a new bridge.
Klobuchar said her bill will not violate the the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which the St. Croix River falls under. The act protects more than 11,000 miles of 166 rivers in 38 states.
Congress has not allowed the building of a new bridge over any of the rivers protected.
"The law, however, provides for an exemption," Klobuchar said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. "While the act is incredibly important, it is also very important that Stillwater get a new bridge."
Meanwhile, former Sen. Walter Mondale, who co-authored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, said he does not agree with either plan for building the bridge.
"I think that people ought to be soberly thinking about whether they want to assault the uniqueness and majesty of that river," Mondale said to the Star Tribune. "This is establishing a dangerous precedent of the whole river system."