Day 5 #RideMI: Peters Views Pere Marquette River Restoration & Promotes Short Line Railroad Investments

LUDINGTON, MI – On the fifth and final day of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour, U.S. Senator Gary Peters stopped in Baldwin to observe restoration efforts along the Pere Marquette River. Peters, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, discussed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which provides federal funding to leverage the efforts of local groups to clean and preserve local waterways.

“One of the many great aspects of the GLRI is the ability for local organizations to turn federal funding into sustainable protection programs for the Great Lakes ecosystem in their own communities,” said Senator Peters. “Success stories like the Pere Marquette River demonstrate why GLRI is so important to communities across Michigan. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to fight attempts to cut funding for this critical program.”

“The Pere Marquette River is more than just a scenic tributary to the Great Lakes; it also supports important recreational activities and a world-class fishery that boost our state’s economy,” said Paul Kogelschatz, Conservation Resource Alliance, Watershed Coordinator. “We thank Senator Peters for his efforts to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which helps the Pere Marquette River and surrounding area remain healthy and clean enough to continue supporting those important activities.”

Last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan government spending bill that included full funding of $300 million for the GLRI to support cleanup, restoration and protection projects on the Great Lakes.

Peters then traveled to Mason County, where he visited Harsco Rail in Ludington, a global supplier for railway track maintenance and construction. Peters discussed how investments in short line railroads can boost America’s global economic competitiveness and create jobs. Short line railroads are regional railroad lines that often serve small manufacturers, farmers, and other businesses, helping get their goods and products to market.

“Michigan is strategically located to be a transportation and logistics hub, and suppliers like Harsco Rail are working every day to provide high quality products to repair and improve vital railways,” said Senator Peters. “I’m working to ensure short line railroads and the businesses they serve have long-term certainty to make critical investments to upgrade their tracks, strengthen our rail infrastructure and help grow our economy.”

“Railways are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure, and suppliers like Harsco play a vital role in helping businesses ship their goods by rail to new markets,” said Alex Whitacre, Harsco Plant Manager, Ludington. “Short line railroads are important customers for our business, and we appreciate Senator Peters’ work to ensure they are able to invest in maintaining their track, so our company can continue to supply them with high-quality, innovative equipment and tools.”

Last year, Peters cosponsored the Building Rail Access for the Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. The bill would provide certainty to short line and regional railroads investing in track repairs by making permanent a 50 percent tax credit for every dollar spent on maintenance, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad.

Over the course of his five day #RideMI Motorcycle tour, Senator Peters rode through 25 counties, stopping in 12 along the way. Peters heard from constituents and spoke about what he is doing on their behalf in the U.S. Senate – from ensuring Michigan businesses have access to a strong workforce to strengthening small farms and protecting the Great Lakes.