Backers of new Stillwater bridge make their case in D.C.

A coalition of local city officials and residents are in Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and lobby for speedy passage of a bill that would clear the way for the new bridge.
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A coalition of local city officials and residents are in Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and lobby for speedy passage of a bill that would clear the way for the new bridge.

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Bill in Congress to cap cost of Stillwater bridge threatens project

A bill in Congress would limit the use of federal funds for the crossing at $574 million. That's significantly lower than the project's estimated $700 million price tag. Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison says he's not against building the bridge but says the price is just too high. The group lobbying for the crossing says that cost also includes highway improvements in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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The state legislators signed a letter to federal lawmakers opposing a plan to build a $700 million bridge that would replace the current lift bridge. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Dayton have spoken out in favor of the bridge. The legislators who signed the letter say the money could be better spent elsewhere.

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The Stillwater Lift Bridge will close Monday for four months while MnDot crews make repairs. The bridge will not reopen until late December. The lift span will open to boat traffic on Sundays from Oct. 15 through Nov. 5 and will also not open again until late December.

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