Governor Evers announces $40.5 million in harbor grants

Funds cover port construction and maintenance projects
Release date: February 28, 2020

Governor Tony Evers today announced grants totaling $40,565,780 for eight harbor maintenance and improvement projects in Wisconsin. Improvements will promote shipbuilding, waterborne freight and assist economic development in local communities and statewide.

“Wisconsin has the unique advantage of being surrounded by water on three sides, with a vital commercial port and harbor system,” says Governor Evers. “With the 2019-2021 budget we committed to investing in this critical asset. These grants strengthen the link between our transportation infrastructure and the success of three critical state industries: agriculture, manufacturing and shipbuilding. Ultimately, it all results in strong communities.”

“The ripple effect of our harbor grants is felt statewide,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary-designee Craig Thompson. “The department makes continued investments in our commercial waterfronts because investing in transportation pays off in our quality of life and in our state’s economic growth and well-being.”

The 2020 Harbor Assistance Program grants include:

  • City of Bayfield - Apostle Island Marina – $2,051,400 to repair and rebuild an existing breakwater structure and dock wall and provide shoreline protection. This project protects the Apostle Island Ferry, a vital community transportation service, and will maintain the local marina as a harbor of refuge for the commercial fishing industry and the U.S. Coast Guard.  
  • DeLong Co, Inc. – $4,900,000 to construct a new transload facility at Port Milwaukee designed to unload agricultural commodities from rail and truck onto sea-going vessels. This approximately $33-million facility project is also being supported by a Federal Maritime Administration (MARAD) grant and funding from Port Milwaukee.  
  • City of Manitowoc - City Centre – $2,247,740 for construction of a loadout pad for oversized and overweight cranes. This project supports the assemblage, testing and loading of cranes shipped in one unit from the port to the eastern seaboard. Cranes will be used to lift components of large naval vessels. The project will result in new jobs within the city of Manitowoc and supports an existing heavy fabrication industry.  
  • City of Marinette - Fincantieri Marinette Marine – $29,000,000 for construction of dock walls, bulkheads, dredging, blasting, the waterfront infrastructure, vertical ship lift equipment and other allowable costs to transition the shipyard to accommodate construction of larger vessels. 
  • Port Milwaukee – $200,000 for site preparatory work to construct an intermodal container facility on port property. An additional $2.99 million in Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP) funds has been awarded by WisDOT to support this project. 
  • St. Mary’ Cement Inc. – $166,640 in emergency funding to replace a failed bollard. St. Mary’s delivers 500,000 tons of cement annually to the Port Milwaukee terminal. 
  • City of Superior - Fraser Shipyard – $500,000 for dry dock safety improvements which supports the servicing of the Great Lakes maritime fleet. This $3 million project is the first phase of a project that will construct an additional dry dock to accommodate larger ships. Fraser Shipyards operate the only U.S. dry dock on Lake Superior. 
  • U.S. Oil – $1,500,000 to install a vapor control system, repair and modify storage tanks and construct rail connection enhancements at its Port Milwaukee facility. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $4.85 million and supports the continued operation of the bulk liquid cargo operation.

Created in 1979, WisDOT’s Harbor Assistance Program helps harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. Applications are reviewed by the Harbor Advisory Council, which includes members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UW Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and alumni from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

Applications are accepted from public or private harbor facilities for projects that benefit facilities used for cargo transfer, ship building, commercial fishing, vessel cruises or ferry service. All projects must have a transportation efficiency benefit-cost ratio greater than one over a 25-year project life and be identified in a current three-year harbor development plan. Selection criteria include economic impact, urgency and project type. Those interested in the next round of Harbor Assistance Project grants should note that the deadline for the next cycle is August 1, 2020. 

See the Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance program webpage for more information or to review past grant awards.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov