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H.R. 3434 (112th): Fiscally Responsible St. Croix River Crossing Authorization Act

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 16, 2011 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. R. 3434


November 16, 2011

(for herself and Mr. Ellison) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To authorize a replacement for the lift bridge in Stillwater, Minnesota with necessary taxpayer protection measures to promote fiscal responsibility.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Fiscally Responsible St. Croix River Crossing Authorization Act.



The Congress finds the following:


The proposed St. Croix River Crossing Project between Minnesota and Wisconsin uses an extradosed bridge design that could cost nearly $700,000,000 and expose taxpayers to the risk of cost overruns and delays.


The Federal Highway Administration in its St. Croix River Crossing Cost Estimate Review stated: The river bridge extradosed type, aesthetics, configuration and constructability are major contributors to the risk associated with the project costs.


The most expensive bridge built in Minnesota to date is the Interstate 35W Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, which was constructed in 2008 at a cost of $260 million and serves approximately 140,000 vehicles per day, compared to the proposed St. Croix Crossing Project that will serve an estimated 18,000 cars per day if opened on schedule in 2016.


Federal and state funding for bridge repair and replacement is severely limited and must be utilized as efficiently as possible to meet growing needs: the State of Minnesota has 1,149 bridges listed as structurally deficient, while the State of Wisconsin has 1,142 structurally deficient bridges.


It is the responsibility of Congress to uphold the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1271), which protects 12,598 miles of 203 rivers in 38 States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


Authorization of project with mitigation measures

Notwithstanding section 7(a) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1278(a)) and subject to section 4 of this Act, the head of an appropriate Federal agency or department may authorize and assist in the construction of a new bridge crossing for the St. Croix River, which is to be located not more than 7 miles north of the Interstate 94 bridge crossing, if mitigation measures determined by the Secretary of Interior are implemented to offset the environmental impacts identified in the September 2010 evaluation and determination report prepared by the National Park Service pursuant to such section.


Limitation on Federal funding

After the date of enactment of this Act, no Federal funds, including Federal highway formula funding, shall be provided for any St. Croix River bridge crossing between Minnesota and Wisconsin within 7 miles of the existing Interstate 94 Bridge with a total project cost in excess of $574,000,000.


Strategies for accelerating project timeline

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit or discourage the use of design-build construction methodology, which some States utilize as a successful strategy for reducing construction timelines and containing project costs.