Supporters of allowing cargo barges to travel on Lake Michigan as far north as Muskegon say they've lined up significant backing from members of the state legislature.
The Michigan Agri-Business Association says 86 House members and eight senators have signed letters favoring the idea.
Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright says allowing barges to call at ports in Muskegon and elsewhere along the lake's eastern shore would give those areas a better shot at economic growth opportunities. Sen. Goeff Hansen says it would lead to infrastructure improvements.
The U.S. Coast Guard sets commercial routes for barges and certain other vessels in large water bodies, including the Great Lakes. The agency is accepting public comments on the Lake Michigan barge proposal.