LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Republicans who control the Michigan Senate want to use $30 million from the state’s rainy day fund to dredge Great Lakes harbors grappling with record-low water levels.
The proposal announced Tuesday is included in a larger plan to develop a long-term solution for harbors.
The rainy day account has more than $500 million. Senators say it’s worth tapping the fund to provide an initial boost to get harbors deep enough for recreational and commercial vessels.
For harbor maintenance in future years, lawmakers are considering ideas such as diverting money from a trust fund used to buy land for public recreation.
In his proposed 2014 budget, Gov. Rick Snyder called for a total of $9.4 million for harbor dredging. He’s also asking legislators to authorize a special $22 million supplemental appropriation for dredging. He may be hesitant to draw from the rainy day fund he’s worked to build up.
Michigan has 56 harbors and channels that the federal government is responsible for maintaining, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge only six of them this year. They are in Detroit, Saginaw, Manistee, Muskegon, Grand Haven and Holland.
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