Reactions to Biden visit, Blatnik project

Reactions to President Biden’s visit

While some saw President Biden's visit to Superior as a political move, there is agreement on both sides of the aisle that the Blatnik Bridge needs to be replaced.

President Biden visited Superior on Thursday to highlight the recently announced federal grant to replace the Blatnik Bridge, a project that has been a long time coming. 

“The Blatnick Bridge has served the Twin Ports for more than six decades, and the wear and tear is putting safety and the economic future of this region in jeopardy. Two years ago, President Biden visited Superior to talk about the promise of the bipartisan infrastructure law for communities just like ours. We’ve all been busy at work for this,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin). “Today, the president is back because together we have delivered for Wisconsin and for Minnesota. Replacing the Blatnik Bridge will not only improve safety and protect our economic future, but it will put Wisconsinites and Minnesotans to work creating jobs, supporting local businesses across the north.”

Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert was there for President Biden’s last visit and is glad to see the project progressing with federal aid. 

“It was nice to hear the promise, but this is better now. It looks like we’ve got the money and the project will go forward,” said Liebaert. “You know, people ask me about the Blatnik Bridge, and I said, you know, until we get our money in hand, don’t count it out yet. We’re not done. But now it looks like it’s going to be a deal that we’ll be able to go forward with the project.”

Both Republicans and Democrats support the project, but the cost is an issue for the Wisconsin GOP. 

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Although costly, replacing the Blatnik Bridge will bring jobs to the area. 

“It’s going to be, you know, multiple years in construction and it will involve a lot of different contractors. If we could get a little part of it, it would be great,” said Lakehead Constructors VP of Business Development Kirk Ilenda. “But in addition to that, we think it’s so important for the infrastructure just to keep business going back and forth between Duluth and Superior and how it’s going to affect some of the waterfront businesses down here, some relocations, or we’re trying to be a part of that, helping businesses more in Superior.”