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Time ticking on Stillwater bridge (UPDATE)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has issued a deadline for federal approval for a new St. Croix bridge. The proposed bridge (above) would link Stillwater, Minn., and Houlton, Wis., over the St. Croix River (Rendering courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton says he wants federal approval for a new St. Croix bridge by mid-March or he will ask that state money for its construction be diverted to other projects.

Dayton is calling on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to secure House approval. The Stillwater bridge project needs an exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The U.S. Senate has already granted approval. With its recess, the House has just eight legislative days to act on the matter before Dayton’s deadline.

New redistricting plans released Tuesday shift the Stillwater area from Bachmann to Rep. Betty McCollum, who has been critical of the project.

The Pioneer Press says the four-lane bridge spanning the St. Croix and connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin is estimated to cost at least $574 million.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday publicly supported Dayton’s move. In a statement, Walker urged the House to help the project clear its environmental hurdle prior to adjourning March 8.

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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