Baldwin, Walker Kick Off Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association Meeting

High-Profile State Politicians Comment On Importance Of Great Lakes Shipping, State Of Lake Basin

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Photo: Center for American Progress (CC-BY-ND).

Two of the state’s highest-profile politicians kicked off the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association.

Gov. Scott Walker emphasized the economic importance of shipping ports and how they interact with other forms of transportation. He said more than 30 million tons of freight go in and out of Wisconsin’s ports each year.

“It’s part of our intermodal system that we’ve poured more money into — our roads, our highways, our ports, our airports and freight rail — to make sure we can move commerce, whether it be manufacturing, whether it be agriculture, whether it be tourism,” said Walker.

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Walker credits the ports and associated infrastructure with helping boost the state’s farm exports by 17 percent this year.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., spoke about the importance of keeping the Great Lakes basin healthy. She helped push the Water Resources Reform and Development Act through Congress this spring.

“It was actually long overdue when we did pass it. But I’m glad it is under our belt and I’m glad to have played a role in bringing more focus to our Great Lakes navigational system. Oftentimes the coastal ports get a lot more attention.”

Baldwin also helped pass the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which is aimed at getting rid of invasive species and preserving native ones. But she said it should be permanently funded instead of going year by year as is now the case.

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