A congressional committee gave the green light Wednesday to a $700 million plan to replace the aging lift bridge in Stillwater.
The bill to allow construction of a replacement bridge easily passed the House Natural Resources Committee. The National Parks service has ruled the bridge would violate the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and Rep. Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, cited that in making a veiled criticism of the bridge bill's sponsor, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
"To depart from these protections for the sake of one giant earmark ... is a terrible precedent," Holt said.
Money for the bridge has been set aside by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Transportation. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the bill reflected a hard-fought agreement.
"The people on the ground who live here in this area, this is what they request," Bishop said. "It had been worked out by all the stakeholders in the past."
The bill now heads to the floor of the House.