Dayton rejects alternate Stillwater bridge plan

Bridge to never?
This undated artist rendering released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation shows an aerial view looking west that shows the proposed St. Croix River Crossing between Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he's not interested in a smaller, less expensive bridge proposal.
AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Transportation

Gov. Mark Dayton is rejecting an alternate plan proposed by environmental groups for a new bridge over the St. Croix River.

Thirty organizations wrote a letter to Dayton this week asking the state to study a new design for a smaller, three-lane bridge to replace the aging Stillwater lift bridge.

The groups say the bridge would cost $400 million less than the $690 million, four-lane bridge favored by Dayton, but he's not interested in changing course.

"A number of options were considered before they chose the one that they chose, so there's a reason why it was selected," said Katharine Tinucci the governor's spokeswoman. "Certainly there are other options, but this is the closest we've come in 10 years to having it finished, and that's why we're going ahead with the current plan."

The National Park Service ruled last fall that the current project is in violation of federal law. But bills by Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar would bypass that ruling and clear the way for the bridge to be built.

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