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Hudson – Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 26 into law today which relates to bonding authority for major interstate bridge projects.

Senate Bill 26 eliminates the requirement for the State of Wisconsin to receive a federal grant of at least $75 million before it can utilize the $225 million bonding authority for a major interstate bridge project.

“The St. Croix River Crossing Project is vitally important to continue the uninterrupted flow of goods and services to and through Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “By removing unnecessary red tape we are ensuring that this project moves forward. I thank the full Legislature for their bipartisan support and I thank Senator Sheila Harsdorf and Representatives Murtha, Severson, and Knudson for their leadership on this issue.”

The St. Croix River Crossing project concerns the replacement of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. Constructed in 1931, the bridge crosses the St. Croix River between Stillwater, Minnesota and Houlton, Wisconsin. The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation have been working with the U.S. Department of Transportation on a solution since 1980.

The project’s current proposal would replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge with a four-lane bridge that connects four-lane expressways existing on both sides of the St. Croix River. The proposal would also maintain the historical lift bridge as a portion of a bicycle and pedestrian trail.

Earlier this month, Governor Walker sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressing support for the St. Croix River Crossing project. The following is an excerpt from Governor Walker’s letter:

“Wisconsin fully supports this project and requests your assistance in moving forward. I have spoken with Governor Dayton of Minnesota who assured me that he supports the project as well. Both congressional action and the Administration’s support are needed to make the St. Croix River Crossing project a reality. We respectfully request your support of these congressional efforts to address this nationally significant transportation project.”

Governor Walker’s letter to Secretary LaHood is attached.  Wisconsin DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb also wrote to LaHood about the project.  His letter is also attached.