Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Secretary of the DOT Mark Gottlieb (left) look at the spur line Friday at Marinette Marine Corp. with MMC President and CEO Chuck Goddard (right center) and State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay. A TEA Grant helped develop the spur line. <br>EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Secretary of the DOT Mark Gottlieb (left) look at the spur line Friday at Marinette Marine Corp. with MMC President and CEO Chuck Goddard (right center) and State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay. A TEA Grant helped develop the spur line.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
MARINETTE - The City of Marinette was presented with an $812,523 Transportation Economic Assistance grant Friday. City council President David Buechler accepted a check from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Corp.'s shipyard.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb attended the ceremony. State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, were also in attendance, along with city council members Buechler, Shirley Kaufman and John Marx.

The grant money will go towards the reconstruction of Ely and Mann streets and a rail spur rehabilitation project in the Marinette Marine shipyard.

"The award will cover roughly 25 percent of the cost of the reconstruction," Gottlieb said. "The bulk of it is being paid by the City of Marinette, which I think really shows their commitment and support of the development of this area."

Kleefisch stated during her speech that both job creation and infrastructure have been budget priorities and "today is a dedication to both."

"Today, we are seeing the construction of two roads that make the streets safer, not just for workers but for the surrounding community, as well," Kleefisch added.

Afterwards, Kleefisch praised the TEA program.

"This is one of our proudest programs because it does represent economic development and our DOT is not a traditional economic development agency that you'd think of," she said.

She added that a total of 1,150 jobs would be preserved or created as a direct effect of this grant.

"This grant will allow us to retain jobs, enhance the safety of our workers and improve the reliability of production," said Marinette Marine Corp. President and CEO Chuck Goddard during the ceremony. "I'd like to give my sincere gratitude to the Department of Transportation and the City of Marinette for the continued support of what we do here."

Goddard went on to say that the upgrades from Marinette Marine's parent company, Fincantieri Marine Group, has allowed the shipyard to have four ships under production at the same time. They are also procuring materials for two additional ships while the LCS Milwaukee and Detroit are being finished.

"To support the demands of the LCS program, we have hired over 500 employees and we currently have a workforce of about 1,400," Goddard added. "We have requisitioned out for an additional 150 employees that we'd like to have by April."

These employees will be safer with the sidewalks and lighting that will be added to the streets leading to Marinette Marine.

The railroad spur project has already been completed. Goddard said the ability to receive shipments by rail takes about 80 semi trucks off the road and saves the company $100,000 yearly.

"We'll have to recompete for the subsequent LCS orders beginning next year," he said. "The rail line makes us more efficient, cuts costs and ultimately makes us more competitive in the future."

According to Goddard, the TEA grant will also allow the city to buy a more durable concrete than is already in use on Ely and Mann streets. He said this will help keep the roads in good condition even with the high volume of heavy materials the shipyard receives each day.