Law­mak­ers OK bridge to link Min­nesota, Wis­con­sin

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

The U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Thurs­day ap­proved leg­is­la­tion for build­ing a new St. Croix River bridge to con­nect Min­nesota and Wis­con­sin.

The House voted 339-80 in fa­vor of leg­is­la­tion that ex­empts the pro­posed $700 mil­lion bridge at Still­wa­ter, Minn., from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Se­nate ap­proved the leg­is­la­tion in Jan­uary. It now heads to Pres­i­dent Obama’s desk.

The vote caps ap­prox­i­mately 30 years of squab­bles and leg­isla­tive ma­neu­ver­ings about the span that will link the states with a four-lane high­way.

Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker said in a state­ment that it rep­re­sented good, bi­par­ti­san work.

“This leg­is­la­tion was a top fed­eral pri­or­ity for my ad­min­is­tra­tion and is a great ex­am­ple of bi­par­ti­san­ship team­work that will cre­ate thou­sands of jobs,” Mr. Walker said. “The con­struc­tion of this safer, bet­ter bridge will bring a wel­come eco­nomic boost to the re­gion.”

Thurs­day’s vote capped a fran­tic push to pass the leg­is­la­tion af­ter Min­nesota Gov. Mark Day­ton warned the bill’s House spon­sor, Re­pub­li­can Rep. Michele Bach­mann, that he would re­di­rect state fund­ing if a vote wasn’t held by March 15. The Se­nate passed the ex­emp­tion unan­i­mously in Jan­uary. pur­su­ing a law­suit in their na­tive Kansas about the own­er­ship of a lib­er­tar­ian-lean­ing think tank based in Washington.

The Koch broth­ers also are long­time share­hold­ers in the Cato In­sti­tute, a re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes free-mar­ket, small-gov­ern­ment poli­cies. Their law­suit seeks a court rul­ing that would leave the in­sti­tute with only one other share­holder, its pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Ed Crane, who also is a de­fen­dant.

The law­suit, which was filed Wed­nes­day in John­son County Dis­trict Court, cen­ters on the 25 per­cent own­er­ship in­ter­est in the Cato In­sti­tute pre­vi­ously held by Wil­liam Niska­nen, who re­tired as chair­man in 2008 and died in Oc­to­ber. The Koch broth­ers con­tend that un­der share­hold­ers’ agree­ments in 1977 and 1985, his wife can’t re­tain the shares and con­trol his own­er­ship in­ter­est but must give the shares back to the in­sti­tute.

“We sup­port Cato and its work,” Charles Koch said in a state­ment. “We are not act­ing in a par­ti­san man­ner . . . all we seek is ad­her­ence to the share­hold­ers’ agree­ment.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.