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U.S. House approves legislation to build new bridge over St. Croix River

Lawmakers voted 339 to 80 Thursday in favor of exempting the $700 million project from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The bill now goes to President Obama. Senators passed the legislation in January.
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Lawmakers voted 339 to 80 Thursday in favor of exempting the $700 million project from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The bill now goes to President Obama. Senators passed the legislation in January.

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Michele Bachmann will be among the people in Stillwater this weekend for the event. The U.S. House and Senate sent legislation to President Obama exempting the $700 million dollar project from the the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

St. Croix River bridge supporters celebrate long-awaited legislation

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann were among those in Stillwater at the Saturday morning event. After decades of debate, lawmakers voted Thursday to exempt the proposed St. Croix River crossing from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. President Obama is expected to support it. The new four-lane bridge will replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge.

U.S. House committee approves new St. Croix bridge bill

The $700 million project is fully funded, but needs congressional action to bypass federal environmental regulations that protects rivers like the St. Croix from construction projects. The bill now goes to the House floor.

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President Barack Obama signed the bill authorizing a $690 million bridge near Stillwater. He signed it over the objections of some federal officials who worry exempting the St. Croix from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sets a bad precedent.

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Supporters of a new bridge near Stillwater have been pushing the concept for decades. They believe they can finally reach their goal if the House votes to exempt part of the St. Croix from its status as a Wild and Scenic River. But the bridge has its critics. They're using financial arguments in hopes of rallying opposition.

Governors meet in Stillwater to celebrate future St. Croix River bridge

Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker held a joint celebration Friday afternoon near the 81-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. It comes after President Obama signed the bill to exempt the new crossing from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Construction on the $675 million four-lane bridge is likely to begin in early 2014 and take three years to complete.