Governor Walker Attends Groundbreaking for City of Manitowoc, S.S. Badger Dock Construction Project


WisDOT awarded City of Manitowoc over $3 million in Harbor Assistance Program grants for facility construction

MANITOWOC– Governor Scott Walker today joined United States Congressman Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Dave Ross, S.S. Badger/ Lake Michigan Carferry (LMC) company representatives, and Manitowoc officials for the groundbreaking of a $4 million project that will permanently repair the bulkhead and fender system damaged during the 2015-2016 winter. The City of Manitowoc is receiving over $3 million in Harbor Assistance Program (HAP) grants from the state to help fund the construction.

“The S.S. Badger is an important driver of tourism and commerce for the State of Wisconsin,” said Governor Walker. “Not only do 85,000 passengers a year enjoy their memorable passage on board, but local and statewide businesses also rely on the ferry as an important mode of transportation for moving vehicles and cargo across Lake Michigan.”

The S.S. Badger is one of the state’s six ferry services. This National Historic Landmark provides 4-hour passage between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. It can accommodate passengers, autos, recreational vehicles, tour buses, motorcycles, bicycles and commercial trucks.

The S.S. Badger in January of 2018 received an award of $1,016,500 to complete permanent repairs to the ship’s docking structure. However, high winds and heavy waves from a winter storm in April 2018 caused substantial damage to adjacent infrastructure. As a result of the damage, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) awarded an $800,000 emergency HAP grant to repair loading equipment, structures, and severe erosion of the approach roadway embankment. The City of Manitowoc and the S.S. Badger are each contributing $502,750 to the project.

“The Harbor Assistance Program is an excellent example of partnership and collaboration between all levels of government,” said WisDOT Secretary Ross. “The Harbor Assistance Program is a valuable tool for the department to support economic development.”

The S.S. Badger also received a $2 million emergency Harbor Assistance Program grant in the fall 2016 to keep the dock operational.

Harbor Assistance Program

The Wisconsin Harbor Assistance Program was created in 1979 to help harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. All applications for this program are reviewed by the Harbor Advisory Council, which includes members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UW Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

To date, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has administered almost $140 million in state grants for 109 port preservation and improvement projects along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

Applications are accepted from public or private harbor facilities for projects that benefit facilities used for cargo transfer, ship building, commercial fishing, vessel cruises or ferry service. All projects must have a transportation efficiency benefit-cost ratio greater than one over a 25-year project life and be identified in a current three-year harbor development plan. Selection criteria include economic impact, urgency and project type. Those interested in the next round of Harbor Assistance Project grants should note that the deadline for the next cycle is August 1, 2018.

For more information about the HAP program or to review past grant awards, visit: