Michigan trade group endorses dredging effort

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The Michigan Boating Industries Association is applauding Gov. Rick Snyder's recognition of the emergency dredging needs of Michigan harbors.

On Feb. 7, Snyder released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, 2013. Included in the governor’s budget recommendations is $21 million for dredging harbors, which the MBIA said is critical to Michigan’s boating, tourism and shipping industries and Michigan’s port communities.

The MBIA commended the governor for his recognition of the record-low-water crisis, as he called on the legislature to pass the budget quickly.

The $21 million for dredging would come from two sources: $11.5 million from General Fund spending and $9.4 million in redirected funds from existing projects from the Waterways Fund. Additionally, legislation is being drafted that may produce other funding sources for dredging.

“As Michigan is facing historically low water levels, we are pleased to see government working together at all levels,” the MBIA said. “These efforts include researching funding sources for dredging, improving the dredging permitting process to include a more timely permit application turnaround, decreasing costs associated with dredging and an expanded window for dredging cycles, to name a few.”

The MBIA said Michigan ranks as one of the top states in the nation in registered watercraft. Recreational boating alone brings a $3.9 billion economic impact to the state, and government recognizes that dredging is “directly linked to the success of Michigan’s economy, its water-related businesses and the lifestyle of its citizens,” the MBIA said. “The economic benefits tied to the investment in dredging needs cannot be overstated.”

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