Superior Officials Urge Lawmakers To Preserve Funding For Harbor Maintenance

Walker Budget Makes Cuts To Harbor Assistance Program

Coast Guard News (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Leaders from the City of Superior urged the Joint Finance Committee in Rice Lake on Monday to drop Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to all but eliminate funding used to maintain Wisconsin shipping ports.

Superior Economic Development Planning and Port Director Jason Serck testified against steep cuts to the state’s Harbor Assistance Program. The program, also known as HAP, is a fund created in 1979 that offers matching grants for shipbuilding companies, dredging and dock projects.

Serck said it’s vital assistance that would be all but eliminated under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

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“The HAP received $12.9 million in the last budget, but under the current proposal all bonding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has been eliminated, leaving $1.3 million in the net budget for next year. Just to give you perspective, the average project in Superior costs about $3.6 million,” said Serck.

According to the state Department of Transportation, around 30 million tons worth of cargo worth more than $2.4 billion pass through Wisconsin’s ports each year.