Politics & Government
1:23 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Emergency dredging money moving through House

Lake levels are low, especially in Lakes Huron and Michigan, so harbors and ports want help clearing the way before boating season starts.

Gov. Snyder called it an emergency.

Members in the Legislature seem to agree as emergency money from the Natural Resources Trust Fund, a fund normally used for public land acquisition or improvement, is closer to reality.

More from Kathleen Gray at the Detroit Free Press:

Emergency dredging in the Great Lakes moved a step closer to reality Wednesday when the House Appropriations committee approved spending $20.9 million to clear 49 bays and harbors.

The supplemental bill, which also includes 76 land purchase and development projects for recreational purposes that will be funded through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, now only needs to get a vote from the full House of Representatives before it moves to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. The bill passed on a vote of 22-0, with four Democrats passing on the measure.

"These small commercial ports on Great Lakes affect everybody’s wallet," said state Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville. "It's 10 times cheaper to move materials on a Great Lake ship than a truck."

Sen. Geoff Hansen, R-Hart, who sponsored the dredging bill, said the timing of the bill is crucial.

"We're trying to get it done so it can get signed, we can get contracts out before the boating season and get started," he said.