Edward G. Rendell announced $17m in capital grants to support projects in Erie that will bolster the city’s economy and expand the region’s tourism industry.
Among the grants include $2.5m to Erie Shipbuilding LLC
to help the company expand operations at the former Litton Industries shipyard and dry dock. The company will, primarily, convert existing vessels to tug barges, but will also build new ships for VanEnkevort’s Tug and Barge Inc.
The company plans to expand VTB’s fleet by five to six vessels within three years.
The state grant will help the company with capital expenditures as it seeks to acquire the necessary equipment to outfit the shipyard property. Once up and running, Erie Shipbuilding plans to hire a number of skilled laborers, including metal fabricators, pipe fitters, electricians and welders. The number of employees at the shipyard could reach 200 by 2007, up from approximately 60.