Lake Express Ferry presents Milwaukee with $1.15 million check

PORT OF MILWAUKEE -- Seeing the Lake Express Ferry docked at the Port of Milwaukee is a sure sign that summer is on the way! The ferry takes its first trip in just a few weeks, but the ferry reached a celebratory milestone Monday, April 16th.

In the last eight years of operation at the Port, the company has generated $1.15 million in revenue from rent, parking and passenger fees.  A check in that amount was presented to the City of Milwaukee Monday morning.

“To cross a milestone in having returned an excess of a million dollars to the city, for rents and other fees, we're very proud of that,” Lake Express President Ken Szallai said.

The city leases the Port terminal and dock to the Lake Express.  In turn, the ferry provides round trips for more than 100,000 people from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI while boosting tourism to the state.

“People go to our restaurants, go to our theater, go to the ballgame. All those additional revenue dollars comes to the city of Milwaukee, and we use that to offset our increase in taxes or decrease taxes," Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy said.

Murphy, who is the chair of the Milwaukee Common Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee, said the revenue generated will ultimately save taxpayers money and create jobs.  Each season, the ferry employs more than 85 people.

“It shows that government and the private sector can move forward together in a way that creates jobs and economic activity,” Szallai said.

Entering its ninth season, the Lake Express ferry shows no signs of slowing down. “We're going to be here for another 20 or 30 years,” Szallai said.

The first trip on the Lake Express Ferry takes off Friday, May 4 with two crossings daily.

Tickets are now on sale.  If you would like to make a reservation, click here.