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Wisconsin Leaders Applaud $1 Billion Investment for Blatnik Bridge

Baldwin fought for two years to secure Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for critical project for regional economy

WISCONSIN – Wisconsin leaders are applauding U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s announcement that Wisconsin and Minnesota will receive an over $1.05 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to replace the 60-year-old Blatnik Bridge, which serves as a critical link between Duluth and Superior for Wisconsin travelers and the Made in Wisconsin economy.

“Major projects like the Blatnik Bridge are only possible when local, state, and federal partners come together to invest in Wisconsin’s safety, economy, and future. I was proud to do my part by voting for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and pressing the Biden administration night and day to deliver this critical funding for the Twin Ports,” said Senator Baldwin. “This long overdue investment will create good-paying jobs, keep our Made in Wisconsin economy moving forward, and ensure this critical connector for Northern Wisconsin provides safe, reliable passage for decades to come.”

“Thanks to Senator Baldwin’s leadership we have a tremendous opportunity to replace an aging piece of infrastructure critical to supporting and growing our state, regional and national economies,” said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “Our agency stands ready to work with our partners both federally and in Minnesota to deliver a new structure that will improve safety, economic impact and quality of life for people and industry in Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Midwest for decades to come.”

“The Blatnik Bridge is a vital connection linking Duluth and Superior. And it’s failing. For years we’ve been asking the federal government to maintain this vital link and the Biden Administration got it done,” said Jim Paine, Mayor of Superior. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we can not only keep the Twin Ports connected, we can actually improve access for hundreds of people in both cities.”

“The Blatnik Bridge and its connections are essential to the efficient, safe flow of critical cargoes through our world port, both on the road and on the water. It’s a vital artery within the Upper Midwest supply chain, linking North America’s furthest-inland seaport and helping move the raw materials of everyday life,” said Deb DeLuca, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We’re grateful for this significant U.S. DOT investment in such an important piece of infrastructure. This is a bi-state project and it took organized advocacy from both sides of the bridge to ensure a successful outcome. We greatly appreciate Senator Baldwin’s support of the project throughout the process.”

“This is great news that the lifeline between Superior and Duluth now has the funding locked down,” said Mark Liebaert, Chair of the Douglas County Board. “Thank you to Senator Baldwin and President Biden for following through on their promise to make this project happen.”

"Our Chamber would like to express gratitude to our elected leadership at the state and federal levels for their efforts to secure funding and fill the gap for the Blatnik Bridge project. To some, it may be just a bridge, however to the residents of Superior, Duluth and the greater Twin Ports region, we understand that this is a vital causeway not only for locals but visitors to the area and an extremely important connection point for interstate, national, and even international commerce,” said Taylor Pedersen, President and CEO of Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Blatnik Bridge is not a partisan issue and we thank these elected leaders for recognizing that. Their support of this necessary funding will provide a positive impact on a daily basis for our residents, businesses and all forms of commerce."

“The City of Superior Public Works Department welcomes the announcement of a $1.05 billion federal grant to support the vital Blatnik Bridge project. This significant investment in Twin Ports infrastructure represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen transportation networks benefitting our region,” said Todd Janigo, Public Works Director for the City of Superior. “A modern, safe, and reliable new bridge will have far-reaching impacts, supporting economic growth and enhancing daily life across our communities. We look forward to collaborating on this transformative project that will shape the future of transportation for generations to come.”

“Replacing the Blatnik Bridge is a must to Superior's economy and culture. This investment in our infrastructure is essential to how we do business in the northland, supporting each other's communities in both WI and MN,” said Kelly Peterson, Executive Director of the Superior Business Improvement District. “The Superior Business Improvement District appreciates the efforts by the State of WI and MN, DOT, and our elected representatives including President Biden and Senator Tammy Baldwin.”

“On behalf of the Development Association, we extend our sincere gratitude for your tireless efforts in securing funding for the Blatnik Bridge project. The contributions of $400,000,000 from both Minnesota and Wisconsin, coupled with the substantial $1 billion support from the Biden Administration, mark a significant milestone in ensuring the economic vitality of our region for years to come. Your dedication to advancing this crucial infrastructure project has not gone unnoticed,” said Jim Caesar, Executive Director of the Development Association. “The Blatnik Bridge plays a pivotal role in connecting our communities, fostering commerce, and enhancing the overall well-being of the residents in the area. Your advocacy and commitment to securing the necessary funds highlight your unwavering support for the development and prosperity of our region. We commend your leadership and applaud the collaborative efforts that have led to this substantial funding. The impact of this investment will reverberate through our communities, creating opportunities for growth, job creation, and improved connectivity. Your instrumental role in advancing the Blatnik Bridge project reflects your deep understanding of the needs of the people you represent. Thank you, Senator Baldwin, for your steadfast support. We look forward to witnessing the positive transformation that this funding will bring to our region.”

"The announcement of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation towards the replacement of the Blatnik Bridge connecting Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota is an economic win for the region! The Blatnik Bridge has been seeing increased costs for maintenance and repairs and is nearing its projected service life. Additionally, the bridge is weight posted and impacting freight companies’ ability to haul full legal weight loads,” said Sheldon Johnson, Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC). “When the Blatnik Bridge is reconstructed freight companies will be able to maximize haul weights resulting in economic efficiencies because of fewer loads and fuel savings. Companies throughout Northwest Wisconsin supported the need for the Blatnik Bridge replacement. The future economic growth of Northwest Wisconsin is tied to critical infrastructure, such as the Blatnik Bridge. Thank you to our State and Federal officials who supported and pressed for the Blatnik Bridge replacement project. Well done!"

The Blatnik Bridge is a vital connection between Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, with over 33,000 vehicles passing through daily and 265,000 trucks transporting nearly $4 billion in goods annually. After more than 60 years of heavy usage, the bridge has suffered from significant structural deterioration, leading to capacity, mobility, and safety concerns.

Since the passage of the Baldwin-backed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Senator Baldwin has been advocating for Wisconsin to receive federal funds to replace the Blatnik Bridge.

  • March 2022: Senator Baldwin joined President Biden in Superior to highlight Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in bridges for local communities and economies and advocate for funding to replace the Blatnik Bridge.
  • December 2022: Senator Baldwin secured $7.5 million for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to replace the Blatnik Bridge through the annual budget process.
  • June 2023: Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers along with Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson and Superior Mayor Jim Paine visited Superior to highlight the continued need to replace the Blatnik Bridge and urge the Biden administration to invest in the project.
  • August 2023: Senator Baldwin called on the Biden Administration to support Wisconsin and Minnesota’s application for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the project.
  • October 2023: Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of eight Minnesota and Wisconsin legislators to urge President Biden to support Minnesota and Wisconsin’s application for federal funding to rebuild the Blatnik Bridge.
  • December 2023: Senator Baldwin again voiced her support for the Blatnik Bridge and announced her support for Wisconsin and Minnesota’s second application for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.