State Representative Garey Bies announced Wednesday that the joint finance committee approved a motion that includes $5.2 million for dredging the channel between Northport, on the tip of the door peninsula, & Detroit Harbor on Washington Island. The money earmarked for Washington Island was part of a larger transportation package. Bies said the committee’s action is great news for the island, its residents, businesses & visitors & those who are involved in transportation to & from the mainland. According to Bies, water levels on Lake Michigan hit record lows this winter, making ferry travel to Washington Island nearly impossible. He said the Army Corps of Engineers is predicting that the levels will remain low for some time to come. Besides safety concerns, Bies said he was worried about the significant loss to the economy if the ferry line couldn’t operate, noting that year-round access generates more than $16 million in annual economic activity through the transportation of passengers, vehicles & cargo. Final approval for the funding is still needed from the full senate & assembly, along with the governor’s signature before the funding is included in the next two-year budget.