“The Michigan Port Collaborative has focused its efforts on being the united voice for Michigan ports,” said Marci Cisneros, a member of the Michigan Port Collaborative Board and executive director of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our goal is to secure funds for dredging and port infrastructure repairs and maintenance.”
According to Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis, with funding issues on the horizon, Grand Haven will be one of the sole recipients of dredging funding in 2012.
“After that, we’re probably all done,” he said.
Cisneros said funds for dredging harbors should come from the $1.3 billion collected annually from the federal Harbor Maintenance Fund.
“Unfortunately, only about $750 million of those dollars get allocated to the nation’s ports each year — that’s a problem,” Cisneros said. “Protecting those funds for their intended use is our first step — getting Michigan ports the funds we need to stay operable is our second.”
Without these funds, there would be problems for places along the Great Lakes that rely on water for transport of goods and services.
The lack of a passable shipping channel would have big problems for industry, as well as the Board of Light & Power’s Sims plant on Harbor Island, McGinnis said. One cargo vessel delivering coal to the BLP plant equals about 225 rail cars and 870 trucks.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.