Artist rendering of the new St. Croix River Bridge, shortly to undergo construction
Yesterday, President Obama signed a Senate Bill authorizing construction of the long-awaited St. Croix River bridge, which will span the river between Oak Park Heights, Minnesota and St. Joseph, Wisconsin. The bill's passage and the president's signature ended years of debate, planning and litigation. The bill signed by the president granted an exemption to the bridge project from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this morning that the bridge project will be the largest public works project in Minnesota history, with the cost estimate coming in at $690,000,000.
The Star Tribune also reported:
Despite environmental and fiscal objections raised in Congress by Minnesota Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, Klobuchar and Bachmann said that there was never any doubt that Obama would sign the bill.Here is a press release issued by Governor Walker yesterday:
Congressional opponents apparently did not lobby the White House to block the bill.
I applaud the President for signing S. 1134, the St. Croix River Crossing Project, into law today. I also give my sincere thanks to everyone who assisted in getting this legislation made into law over the years – that is a very long list of people, groups and organizations.
The St. Croix River Crossing is a great example of what happens when everyone puts their differences aside, focuses on the needed end result and works together to successfully get something done. And Wisconsin is better off for it. We can now begin the process of constructing this bridge, a project that will bring thousands of jobs to our region and provide a safer route between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
This is a great day for Wisconsin.Another great day for Wisconsin would have been if an $800 million high speed rail public works project had been wholly funded by the federal government that would not have been shared with Minnesota but primarily spent inside Wisconsin borders. That is something to discuss in a future post.
But I digress.
There was never any apparent threat that the president would veto the bill that passed with strong bi-partisan support in the congress. But Governor Walker went out of his way to not only thank, but applaud the president for his signature anyway. It is apparent that with the recall staring him in the face, the governor is now a strong proponent of bi-partisanship as the proper way to get job creating things accomplished. If it is an honest metamorphosis in the governor's thinking, then it is a good thing. But I suspect it is just the governor trying to move away from his "drop the bomb" persona in the run up to the June 5 election.