Rep. McCollum fights to scale back new Stillwater bridge

Stillwater bridge
Stillwater lift bridge and downtown Stillwater, Minn. Sept. 28, 2011. The proposed new span would replace the existing bridge, which is 80 years old and deteriorating.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

A key congressional opponent of a proposed new four-lane bridge to be built in Stillwater, Minn., plans to try to scale it back.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., has long argued that the current proposed bridge is too large and too expensive.

With bills authorizing a new bridge waiting for votes in the House and Senate, McCollum is preparing a bill that would limit funding for any new bridge over the St. Croix River.

According to a copy of the legislation given to MPR News, the bill would cut off federal funds if the bridge's cost exceeds $574 million. The current proposal comes in just under $700 million.

The move comes a day before Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood convenes a meeting of Minnesota and Wisconsin lawmakers to discuss the bridge.

McCollum is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and she could also try to insert this restriction into an upcoming appropriations bill. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is a cosponsor of the measure.

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