Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation Growing Michigan’s Maritime Economy, Other Legislation

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed 15 pieces of legislation, bringing the total number of bipartisan bills signed to 919. The bills she signed today includes legislation to expand Michigan’s commercial maritime ports, growing Michigan’s economy.

“In Michigan, our waters define us, and we every Michigander is committed to protecting lakes—Great and small—for future generations,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan legislation to grow Michigan’s maritime infrastructure and economy. Getting this done will help us stay focused on growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs. I will work with anyone to protect Michigan’s waters and invest in every region of our great state.”

Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Grant Program Act

Together, Senate Bill 744 and House Bill 5291 establish the Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Grant Program Act, to award grants to owners of port facilities and expand Michigan’s commercial maritime ports, growing Michigan’s economy. The Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Office in the Michigan Department of Transportation will create the Port Facility Improvement Fund to implement and administer the program. Michigan’s ports are an underutilized asset that could contribute to the state’s growing economy if given more investment.

“Our bipartisan bills present a historic opportunity for Michigan to become more competitive with other states by investing in the maritime industry,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang, D – Detroit. “I serve much of the Detroit Riverfront and know that Michigan’s location near the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway System is a competitive advantage we need to take care of. These bills signed into law by Governor will provide maritime improvement grants to allow ports to make necessary infrastructure upgrades, while also incentivizing port terminals to protect local communities, our water and our air.”

“It has taken nearly a decade of advocacy to reach this monumental accomplishment for the sustainability of Michigan’s Ports and commercial shipping industry,” said Paul LaMarre, Port Director – Port of Monroe. “Through Senator Chang’s leadership and advocacy of Senator Zorn and Representative O’Malley our legislature has shown that the Great Lakes shipping industry merits bipartisan support and is critical to our State’s economic prosperity.

“Governor Whitmer’s memorialization of this legislation is a testament to the many people of the “Great Lakes State” who have championed our cause and begun a new chapter in Michigan’s freshwater legacy,” continued Paul LaMarre, Port Director – Port of Monroe. “As the Chairman of the Governor’s Port Advisory Committee, it is my humble honor to express our sincerest thanks as a committee, port, and industry. I salute the Governor for all she has done to ensure that our State’s ports prosper and continue to serve as vital links to our regions broader transportation network.”

“This legislation is a game changer for Michigan ports and will allow the state to be more competitive in the shift toward greener modes of transporting goods and building a more resilient and innovative supply chain,” said Jonathan C. Kinloch, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Chairman. “Our thanks go out to Senators Chang and Schmidt and Representative O’Malley, and of course Governor Whitmer, for their leadership on behalf of marine transportation in Michigan.”

House Bill 5291 was sponsored by Rep. Jack O’Malley, R – Lake Ann, and a copy can be found here.

Senate Bill 744 was sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Chang, D – Detroit, and a copy can be found here.

Read the full release here.

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