CLEVELAND – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) has sent a list of projects that will benefit the nation to the National Governors Association (NGA) and a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, tops the list. The NGA collected priorities from all the governors and then forwarded them to the White House.
The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway and are one of the nation’s most economically vital systems. Year in, year out, more than 80 million tons of cargo transit the Soo Locks, and most of that tonnage moves through the Poe Lock. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers it a potential single point of failure in the crucial iron mining – steel production – manufacturing supply chain. So important is the Poe Lock that DHS forecasts nearly 11 million Americans would lose their jobs if the Poe Lock was out of service for just 6 months.
The lock is estimated to cost $672 million and would create approximately 15,000 construction jobs during the 10-year construction period.
Construction of a second Poe-sized lock was authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but an inaccurate analysis of the benefit/cost (b/c) ratio has stalled the project. The mistaken assumption that the railroads could move the stranded cargo set the b/c ratio at 0.73, but a recent study by the U.S. Department of Treasury estimates the b/c ratio could be as high as 4.0. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has acknowledged that the current b/c ratio is flawed and a new analysis is due by year’s end.
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 13 American companies that operate 49 U.S.-flag vessels 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, these vessels can transport more than 100 million tons of cargo per year. More information is available at www.lcaships.com. Contact: Glen G. Nekvasil, Vice President – 440-333-9996 / Nekvasil@lcaships.com.