U.P gets $10 million in freeze-up aid bill

MARQUETTE – State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, introduced a bill Thursday, which would provide a $10 million appropriations supplement for counties in the Upper Peninsula that have issued local states of emergencies.

Eight counties have issued such emergencies, including Marquette County. Earlier Thursday, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a “state of emergency” for Marquette County.

“To thaw pipes, local municipalities have gone well over budget hiring contractors to open problem spots with welding equipment. I am so very concerned about fire protection in the Upper Peninsula. If we have frozen fire hydrants, then public safety is at risk,” Dianda said in a news release. “As state government officials, it is our duty to help these struggling communities. We need to get them financial resources or they are going to go into the red.”

The state House will be back in session next week.

Meanwhile, Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch said a water pipe burst outside the terminal today at Sawyer International Airport. Thursday afternoon, workers were continuing to work to repair the pipe. Portable toilets were being sent to the airport, with water service out in the airport terminal. Bottled water was also being made available.

Erbisch said crews hoped to have the pipe repaired and water service restored today. However, some of the parking lot may have been undermined with the incident. Erbisch did not know the extent of that problem this afternoon.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net.