Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, announced Tuesday that Michigan’s ports, harbors and waterways must be adequately and consistently maintained to provide for long-term protection of both natural resources and related economic activity.
Hansen and several other senators addressed the problems facing Michigan’s waterways at a press conference at the Capitol.
“The Senate is committed to developing an agenda that includes both short- and long-term solutions to some of the problems facing Michigan’s waterways,” Hansen said. “The broad purpose of this agenda is to put in place a dredging plan that will make Michigan harbors, ports and waterways accessible and sustainable for both commercial and recreational traffic.”
Hansen said Michigan lacks the statutory authority and funding options to fully meet this need and changes to state law are necessary.
He said possible solutions include complementing the governor’s budget proposal with both short- and long-term dedicated funding; key statutory fixes to ensure a long-term dedicated funding source; development of a long-term strategy that provides a real solution to the state’s annual struggles with dredging needs; providing more tools for local financing of dredging activities; and urging a new Great Lakes basin plan for promotion of Great Lakes harbors and ports.
“There are numerous ways to approach the problems we face, and I am eager to hear what others have to say on the matter,” Hansen said. “The issues facing our waterways are serious and must be addressed.”
The lawmaker said he expects legislation to be introduced soon.
Press Release, February 13, 2013