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Buttigieg visits Green Bay port project that received federal money

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours Green Bay with state and local leaders May 24, 2023. (WLUK/Don Steffens)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours Green Bay with state and local leaders May 24, 2023. (WLUK/Don Steffens)
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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is calling the new Port of Green Bay project a prime example of President Joe Biden's investment in America.

"The reality is good infrastructure investments always pay off like that. They create good paying jobs just in the building of them that helps workers buy homes and educate their kids, and they pave the way for businesses to transform neighborhoods and transform the future of whole communities," he said after touring the waters of Green Bay with city and county officials.

Buttigieg visited Green Bay on Wednesday to tout the $10.1 million federal grant awarded to Wisconsin last year to help with the construction of a new port. The port will be built on the former Pulliam Power plant property at the mouth of the Fox River.

"It's industrial property, and we're going to repurpose it into a state-of-the-art port facility that involved 1,700 feet of dock wall, dredging, fill behind the bulkhead line, putting in the rail lines, dealing with storm water, brownfield redevelopment along with other things like mooring features, security, things like that," explained Port Director Dean Haen,

The initial $30 million investment to create the new port will not only be beneficial to the Green Bay shipping industry but the community as whole.

"The project, just during construction, is going to have a $35 million economic impact," said Haen. "And then after that, it's going to have a $90 million economic impact on the Green Bay area as we grow the port and move more commodities and different commodities in and out of the Port of Green Bay."

Once completed, the port's impact will be far reaching.

"This legislation is really an investment in more than just our infrastructure," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who joined Buttigieg on a tour of the waterway. "It invests in our workers, our 'Made in Wisconsin' economy and it invests in our future."

The port project is currently in the design and permitting phase. The plan is to open it up for next year with construction, which is expected to take about 24 months. Construction is expected to start either at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.

While Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other Wisconsin leaders took part in the celebration of the port, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-8th District, called on Buttigieg for action elsewhere.

Green Bay's Gallagher urged Buttigieg to re-establish the Motorcyclist Advisory Committee, saying that it was supposed to be established within 90 days of the MAC Reauthorization Act of 2021 becoming law.

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In a letter signed by nearly a dozen other representatives, Republicans and Democrats alike, Gallagher says in part:

Most recently reestablished under the 2015 FAST ACT, the MAC provides a critical forum for policy makers, roadway engineers, and motorcyclists to discuss ways roadway and barrier design, construction and maintenance practices, and intelligent transportation systems can better meet the safety needs of the nearly 9 million motorcyclists in this country.
Unfortunately, despite the requirement that the MAC be established within 90 days of enactment it appears no such action has been taken. While we understand the many priorities you manage at the Department of Transportation, this critical Council must be instated to ensure the safety of motorcyclists
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