WISCONSIN – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin visited Green Bay to highlight federal authorization for a new Great Lakes Ice Breaker and learn from Wisconsin seniors about how the Inflation Reduction Act is lowering their monthly insulin costs and increasing access to healthcare services, including life-saving vaccines.
At the Port of Green Bay, Senator Baldwin met with leaders from the Port of Green Bay, the Lake Carriers Association, and U.S. Venture, Inc. to celebrate the authorization of $350 million for a new Great Lakes Ice Breaker that Senator Baldwin championed in her bipartisan Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act. During the 2018-2019 ice-season, inadequate icebreaking caused businesses that depend upon the Great Lakes maritime industry to lose over $1 billion in revenues and 5,000 jobs to be cut throughout the Great Lakes Region. Senator Baldwin also joined officials to highlight a more than $10 million-dollar Department of Transportation grant that she supported for the Port of Green Bay to convert a decommissioned power plant into a new state-of-the-art port facility.
“Senator Baldwin has been a true champion for providing the Coast Guard with the resources needed to keep our supply chain strong, when ice tries to break that connection,” said Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers’ Association. “Over the past few years, she led the funding charge for $20 million to study and design a heavy icebreaker for the Great Lakes. She championed the authorization of $350 million for the acquisition of the vessel in the National Defense Authorization Act, which also proposed performance metrics and called for a Government Accountability Office study. We can’t thank her enough for her support of the Great Lakes Navigation System.”
“We are grateful for Sen. Baldwin's leadership on this important issue. Our Green Bay terminals provide the vast majority of fuel -- including gasoline, diesel, and biofuels consumed in Northeast Wisconsin, and barge shipments bring most of that fuel to Green Bay. Keeping the bay open for barge shipments is critical to ensuring a reliable supply of fuel for the entire region as well as minimizing the necessity of other over-the-road transport,” said Mike Koel, President of U.S. Venture’s Energy Division.
“The importance of ice breaking, particularly for the Port of Green Bay, has been highlighted in recent years by the need to ship petroleum products late into the shipping season. We’ve had petroleum products coming in this week with two more scheduled trips before the shipping season wraps up. But it’s not just about petroleum products. Early this month, a cement carrier bound for Green Bay encountered an 8-inch-thick plate of ice approximately 10-12 miles from the Port entrance and was delayed 3.5 hours,” said Dean Haen, Director of the Port of Green Bay.
In Green Bay, Senator Baldwin joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin to hear personal stories from Wisconsinites who are saving on their monthly insulin costs and life-saving vaccines thanks to the Baldwin-supported Inflation Reduction Act. As of January 1, 2023, seniors with a Medicare Part D plan had their out-of-pocket insulin costs capped at $35 per month. And starting this year, the Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for Wisconsin families by allowing certain vaccines to be free of cost for seniors covered under Medicare Part D, and provide a firm cap of $2,000 on annual out-of-pocket costs for Part D recipients.