MARINETTE — Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he plans to commit $31 million in his budget plan to help shipbuilder Marinette Marine.
Evers went to Marinette in northeastern Wisconsin to announce his proposal to help the shipbuilder expand its shipyard and infrastructure. The expansion will help Marinette Marine compete for a $10 billion federal shipbuilding contract, he said.
The shipyard expansion will help Marinette Marine keep its workforce of 1,500 employees and add 400 full-time positions. The state funding is contingent on Marinette Marine’s receipt of additional federal funds, according to a statement from Evers’ office.
“Marinette Marine is a source of pride for Wisconsin and employs thousands of Wisconsinites in good-paying, family-supporting jobs. Their success is an essential part of the Marinette community and local economy,” Evers said in the statement.
Marinette Marine has been building ships since World War II.
Marinette Marine has been one of two companies building littoral combat ships since 2005. But the U.S. Navy is discontinuing the LCS in favor of a larger frigate class ship next year.
Marinette Marine is in the running for design and construction of the new ship, according to a statement from Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.
Nygren, who appeared with the new Democratic governor in Marinette to announce the proposed funding, said he met with Evers last week to “emphasize the enormous value Marinette Marine plays in Wisconsin’s economy” and invited him to visit.
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“This investment will help Marinette Marine continue to compete on the world stage for years to come,” Nygren said in a tweet Thursday.
The work at Marinette Marine also supports hundreds of contract companies and thousands of their workers, state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said.
Marinette Marine CEO Jan Allman was one of the members of Evers’ transition team after he won election in early November.
“We look forward to working with the Governor and all members of the Legislature to get this across the finish line as part of the state budget,” Allman said in a statement.
In 2010, Marinette Marine received about $50 million in state incentives, which had been proposed by then-Gov. Jim Doyle. The incentives were part of an effort to secure a U.S. Navy contract to build 10 ships at the shipyard.
Marinette Marine was subcontracted for those ships. The contracts were officially with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, Maryland.
Littoral combat ships, which came with price tags upward of $350 million, are designed for a variety of missions, including combat in shallow, coastal waters.