June 10, 2009
Budget Provision Would Impede New Stillwater Bridge
(State Capitol, Madison). The Democratic-controlled budget-writing committee included a new provision in the budget bill that would restrict the ability to construct a new St. Croix River Bridge Crossing between Stillwater, Minnesota and Houlton, Wisconsin. The provision buried in the budget bill would prohibit state or federal funds for a bridge project that “crosses a river forming a boundary of the state if the project is awarded to a contract using a design-build process.” The wording targets the new Stillwater Bridge project.
The non-fiscal policy item in the budget bill has drawn the attention of State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, an advocate of a new Stillwater Bridge. Minnesota is the designated lead state on this bridge project and would utilize design-build to move the project forward in a timely fashion; yet both states would share in funding the costs of a new bridge.
“This is another example of a special interest giveaway that will only make a new Stillwater Bridge that much more difficult,” said Harsdorf. “There is no reason why this provision should be in the state’s budget bill.”
Harsdorf will be working to remove the provision from the budget bill.
“A new Stillwater Bridge is a critical component of our region’s transportation infrastructure,” said Harsdorf. “It is appalling that Madison co-chairs of the budget committee member would insert provisions that would further complicate our ongoing efforts to make a new Stillwater Bridge a reality.”