Governor Evers announces $1.25 million emergency grant to Port Milwaukee

Needed to repair damage caused by January 2020 storm

Release date: September 10, 2020

Governor Tony Evers today announced a $1.25 million Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Harbor Assistance Program (HAP) emergency grant for repairs needed at Port Milwaukee as the result of flooding caused by a January storm surge.

Historic high-water levels on Lake Michigan, combined with strong wind, resulted in 4 inches to six feet of flooding to approximately 60 percent of Port Milwaukee property. The damage to Port Milwaukee’s commercial, multimodal, and passenger facilities was declared a State of Emergency by Milwaukee County and federal governments.

“The state’s ports are a huge value to Wisconsin’s agricultural and manufacturing economies,” Governor Evers said. “This grant will not only help Port Milwaukee repair the storm damage, but also help protect the Port from the ongoing threat posed by historic high water on Lake Michigan. This is especially important given the port’s pending agricultural export projects.” 

"Port Milwaukee is a vital transportation asset,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “It plays an essential role in moving both people and goods. This investment will preserve and grow one of our state’s unique resources benefiting industry and travel for years to come.” 

In 2019, the Port handled over 2.6 million tons of cargo, its highest level in over a decade. Port Milwaukee is the State of Wisconsin’s 2nd most commercially productive port. 

Input from the Harbor Advisory Council and department staff guided the award determination that $1.56 million of the $3 million grant application qualified as emergency and eligible for HAP funding. The program finances up to 80 percent of eligible project costs. Funding will be used to:

  • Repair terminal bay doors, windows, lights, and walls
  • Repair dockwall ladders, timbers, fenders, stairs and concrete
  • Replace destroyed crash barriers, fencing and gates 
  • Repair pavement on terminal piers
  • Repair pavement to prevent dockwall degradation
  • Repave cargo storage areas 

Created in 1979, Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program helps harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. To date, WisDOT has administered more than $194 million in matching funds for 127 port preservation and improvement projects along the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

For more information about Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance program or to review past grant awards, visit the WisDOT HAP webpage.      

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581,