Cleveland – America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed the Senate today and it includes the Soo Lock Post-Authorization Change Report that authorizes construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to move forward. The bill now moves to President Trump for signature. In April, President Trump declared his support for “fixing” the Soo Locks.
James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes, praised Congress for moving the lock project forward. “Many members of the Great Lakes delegation played a key role in advancing construction of the lock, but in particular I must thank Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI) for their commitment to this project. Their dedication to twinning the Poe Lock pushed the project over the top.”
The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes. In a typical year, as much as 80 million tons of cargo pass through the Soo Locks. However, roughly 90 percent of that cargo transits the Poe Lock. The other lock, the MacArthur, is too small to accommodate the most efficient ships in the fleet.
“The American steel industry gets all its waterborne domestic iron ore through the Soo Locks,” said Weakley. “A Department of Homeland Security study found that if the Poe Lock went down for six months, domestic steel production would grind to a halt and 11 million Americans lose their jobs. A second Poe-sized lock is critical to our nation’s economic well-being and national defense capabilities.”
The new lock is projected to cost approximately $922 million and take seven years to build.
About Lake Carriers’ Association
Lake Carriers’ Association (“LCA”) represents 13 American companies that operate 45 U.S.-flag vessels (“lakers”) on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, its members can transport more than 100 million tons of dry-bulk cargo per year and employ more than 1,600 men and women, all of whom are U.S. citizens or legally admitted aliens, and provide annual wages and benefits of approximately $125 million. In turn, the cargos its members carry create and sustain nearly 116,00 jobs in the eight Great Lakes states and generate more than $20 billion in economic activity, $8.3 billion in personal income, $16.4 billion in business revenue, $4.1 billion in local purchases and $3.7 billion in taxes. For more information contact Glen Nekvasil – 440-333-9996 / Nekvasil@lcaships.com.