Historic low water levels have moved harbor dredging to the top of Michigan tourismâ€™s priority list for public marinas and ports in the state, and now private facilities could also receive some state assistance to help improve navigable access.
Rep. Ray Franz today co-sponsored legislation to create The Marina Dredging Loan Origination Program, a partnership between marina owners, private lenders, and the state that will help make emergency dredging projects more affordable.
â€śMichigan has more than 80 harbors serving the publicâ€™s recreational boating and safety needs that are eligible for state assistance to help address the emergency low water circumstances this season, but the private marinas across the state are also a big part of our tourism industry and they are facing the same water level issues,â€ť said Franz, R-Onekama. â€śThis loan program keeps most of the burden on the users of the facility while showing that the state recognizes the important role they contribute for Michiganâ€™s overall economy.
â€śI see this program as very similar to the support we provided to farmers last year when the weather destroyed the seasonâ€™s crops.â€ť
Under the marina dredging program proposed in the legislation eligible marinas will pay a 1 percent interest rate on loans evaluated, awarded and administered by private lenders.
The state supplements the process by paying lenders a loan origination fee totaling 5 percent of the original loan amount, paid out over the five-year term of the loan.
The program caps loans to individual marinas at $500,000, with a maximum state cost for the partial reimbursement of administration/origination/risk costs of $5 million over the life of the project.
The Senate today approved a $21.6 million supplemental appropriation for emergency dredging at almost 60 public marinas and harbors with critical needs. The House could act on the appropriations measure next week.
Press Release, March 8, 2013