House passes bill with $75 million for new Soo Lock

The following is text of a news release from the Lake Carriers' Association:

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water appropriations bill containing the $75.3 million requested by President Trump for construction of the new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. This is the largest amount ever approved by Congress for the massive and strategically critical Great Lakes infrastructure project.

Until now, funding for the lock had come from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discretionary funds and a $52 million allocation from the state of Michigan. But with the Corps' formal designation of the project as a “new start” last November, funding now can flow directly from congressional appropriations.

“This appropriation represents a new, exciting phase of one of the largest, most critical Great Lakes infrastructure projects in modern history,” said Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association. “The new large lock at the Soo is supported by a committed, bipartisan coalition in Congress. This is a major milestone for the project first authorized by Congress in 1986. The Soo Locks are a textbook example of how the administration, Congress, and state governments can work together for the good of our nation.”

Since 1880, the Lake Carriers’ Association has represented the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet which today can move more than 90 million tons of cargo annually and is the foundation of American industry, power, and construction: iron ore, limestone, coal, cement and other dry bulk materials such as grain, sand, and salt.

By Professional Mariner Staff