USA: Lawmakers Pass Funds for Dredging Projects
More than $20 million dollars for emergency harbor dredging is headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. The state Senate yesterday approved a package of bills to fund the projects.
Lawmakers passed the legislation on the last day before they take a two-week break. Senator Geoff Hansen says that will allow dredging to start in time for the summer boating season.
“With this emergency situation, we needed the money now,” he says. “We didn’t need to wait, because it won’t do any good once we get into July and August to try and do the dredging then.
“We needed to put the money up front, get the bids out, get the work done.”
Hansen says record low water levels in the Great Lakes are causing problems for ships and recreational boaters.
The legislation passed easily in the Senate, with bi-partisan support. But Democrat Rebekah Warren, who voted against a bill to fund dredging of public harbors and marinas, says lawmakers wrongly diverted the money from the state Waterways Fund.
“The Waterways Fund pays for things like maintaining our public marinas so that the public can have access to clean restrooms and great park locations at public marinas around the state – and they depleted that to do dredging. And to me, I just think it’s the wrong priority,” she says.
Supporters of the legislation say it’s more important that ships and recreational boaters are able to get in and out of harbors. They say they hope to put money back into the Waterways Fund later.
The legislation is similar to what Governor Snyder proposed in his budget presentation last month.
Source: interlochen.org, March 22, 2013