Haines should explore whether federal money is available for the small boat harbor improvements, according to a 5-0 recommendation on Sept. 29 by the Haines Borough’s ports and harbors advisory committee.

The recommendation is headed to the borough assembly.

The initial $19.5 million for the estimated $37 million total project will come from state funds. The $19.5 million covers some initial engineering and design, installing a steel breakwater and tackling some still-being-debated development of the uplands area. Other than another potential, but not yet locked in $3 million to $5 million state allocation, no funding sources have been nailed down for the rest of the project.

“Our project is shovel-ready (for federal appropriations),” said committee chairman Norm Hughes. “The public is very interested in how we’re going to pay for this project.”