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Thursday, 21 March 2013 14:51

Emergency dredging aid heads to Governor Snyder's desk

(AREA) -- The Michigan Legislature has approved $21 million in emergency spending to dredge 49 harbors with low water levels. The bill won final passage Thursday from the Senate on a 30-5 vote after being passed by the House 107-3 a day earlier. Lake levels are declining, and the federal government has cut back on dredging.  About half of the money would be pulled from a fund that pays for improvements to marine infrastructure. The rest would come from the state's general fund. A couple of local projects will benefit from the improvements. In Huron County, almost an acre of land adjacent to the Judge James H. Lincoln Memorial Bathing Beach in Harbor Beach will be purchased at a cost of $200,000. Accessible playground equipment for Forester Park in Sanilac County will be purchased at a cost of $38,000 with $19,000 coming from the trust fund. Lawmakers also are sending Governor Rick Snyder legislation lowering dredging permit fees and waiving waiting periods for emergency dredging projects. The state also would spend $1 million on loan fees to help private marinas seeking low-interest loans for dredging.