Ports needing harbor funding turn to Wisconsin grant program

Posted in: Infrastructure, Water

Wisconsin provides grants for harbor development. The State of Wisconsin budgeted $14.1 million for Harbor Assistance Program grants to be available in 2017 through 2019.

Consider this scenario.

I’m an owner of 500 feet of prime undeveloped water front property with large boat access to the Great Lakes and international waters. If I had a serviceable dock I would be able to transload (ship in and out) many local goods and cargo for the local area. However, the cost of a new dockwall and dredging to accommodate Great Lake freighters will likely exceed $4 million. The payback on this investment would be less than 10 years, but financing and interest is unavailable, even for a well-established company.

Well if your shoreline is located in Wisconsin, you are in luck.  The State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation HAP could make such a project a reality.  For qualifying projects, an owner can receive a grant for up to 80 percent funding of a harbor project that requires a 20 percent match by the owner.

To qualify for such a grant, the project must meet one of four criteria:

  1. Load and unload 1,000 tons of cargo per year
  2. Boat and shipbuilding
  3. Passenger or car ferries
  4. Unloading commercial fish

HAP was created to assist Wisconsin harbor communities along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River with projects that maintain and improve waterborne commerce.  Port projects typically include dock reconstruction, mooring structure replacement, dredging and the construction of facilities to hold dredged material. The shoreline owner receiving the grant must use and maintain the improved property for 25 years, at which point all obligations of the grant are satisfied.

Mead & Hunt has secured more than $14.5 million in HAP grants in the last five years for our clients. These clients included both cargo dock operators and shipbuilders. We also designed the projects and oversaw the projects through completion of construction.

Contact me with questions on the HAP grant process or to inquire if you have a qualifying project.

Jim Botz, PE

About the Author

Jim Botz, P.E., is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer in the Water Resources Group. He designs and evaluates dams and earth embankments for flood control and recreation throughout the United States. Jim also has served as the project manager and  lead engineer on many port and harbor project throughout the Great Lakes. Jim is well recognized for his adept ability to build skilled teams that provide clients with the highest level of service.

Read more posts by Jim Botz, PE

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