Funding for the New Navigation Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Takes Giant Step Forward: “We can now definitively say that there will be a new Soo Lock,” says Jim Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association.
With the expected passage of the 2020 spending bills a vital national infrastructure project, the new navigational lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is sailing toward reality. The $75.33 million will be signed into law by the President today and is the first funding to construct the lock project that was requested by the President and appropriated by the Congress for that purpose.
The Lake Carriers’ Association thanks President Trump and members of Congress who reached across the aisle in both the House and Senate to appropriate the $75.33 million for the next phase of the construction of the new large lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Furthermore, Congress has directed the Corps to allocate at least an additional $50 million to continue construction of new coastal navigation lock infrastructure and bridges, including the new lock at the Soo, which will help the Corps efficiently fund the project and keep the construction on schedule and within budget.
This comes on top of $52 million provided by the State of Michigan in 2018 and $32 million from the Corps’ 2019 discretionary work plan funds that gave a kick start to construction and finalizing design.
“We’re thrilled to see this funding from the President and Congress for the new lock which has been a long time in coming. With this level of commitment by the Corps, Congress, and the President, we can now definitively say that there will be a new Soo Lock,” said Jim Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “These funds show that Congress and the Administration recognize the vital importance this lock plays in our national economy and to the intertwined North American economies.”
These funds will lay the groundwork for the next big step, the construction of the lock chamber. With continued efficient funding, the construction of the new lock could be complete in as little as seven years and save the American taxpayer $30 million from the estimated $922 million infrastructure project.
The Soo Locks keeps 87,000 American at their jobs, paying $6.4 billion in salaries, and generating $17.4 billion in economic activity for the U.S. each year.