Backers of bridge replacement concede vote this year unlikely

Stillwater bridge
Stillwater lift bridge and downtown Stillwater, Minn. Sept. 28, 2011
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Backers of a replacement for the aging Stillwater Lift bridge concede that Congress is unlikely to act before the end of this year.

Bills to authorize an exemption to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act so a new bridge could be built had cleared all but the final hurdles in both the U.S. House and the Senate.

Supporters had hoped for a vote before Congress recessed for the holidays.

Opponents such as DFL Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who favors a smaller bridge design, had hoped to draw out the process.

With Congress busy tackling a host of tax and spending bills, bridge backers have given up hope on swift action.

A statement from the Coalition for a St. Croix River Crossing said thr group would work even harder over the next few months to get the legislation passed.

But with the start of election season and partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill, it's possible the moment has passed for a bridge bill to go through this Congress.

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