The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee Tuesday approved an amendment to the proposed state budget that includes $5.2 million for the dredging of Detroit Harbor.
The grant to the town of Washington for dredging the west channel entrance to Detroit Harbor is part of a larger transportation package.
Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton calls it a "happy day" and says the action restores his hope and faith in government.
Lake Michigan hit record low water levels this winter, making ferry travel to the Island nearly impossible. Lakes Michigan and Huron have been below average for 14 consecutive years, the longest stretch in recorded history.
Purinton credited state legislators Garey Bies and Frank Lasee along with Washington Town Chair Joel Gunnlaugsson for their help in securing the funding.
Bies says the lake levels were putting Washington Island in a very tenuous position.
Purinton says bids for the project were opened recently and Roen Salvage of Sturgeon Bay was the winning bidder.
"So when this project hits the ground you have an excellent and capable local contractor, money being spent locally to free up and ensure the vitality of Washington Island going into the future," says Purinton.
After the Joint Finance Committee completes its deliberations, the proposed budget must be approved by the Legislature, then it heads to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.