The following is text of a news release from the Lake Carriers' Association:
(CLEVELAND) — President Trump on Tuesday signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, legislation that includes the Soo Lock Post-Authorization Change Report that authorizes construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to move forward. The president had pledged to “fix” the Soo Locks in April.
James Weakley, president of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes, thanked the president for being such a staunch supporter of the lock. “A second Poe-sized lock was authorized in 1986 but has languished under several administrations. It was President Trump who made this a national priority,” Weakley said.
The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., allow vessels, some more than 1,000 feet long, to move between Lake Superior and the lower four Great Lakes. In a typical year, as much as 80 million tons of cargo pass through the Soo Locks. Iron ore for steel production is the single largest commodity, but the locks also handle significant volumes of coal, grain and limestone. Approximately 90 percent of that cargo transits the Poe Lock. The other lock, the MacArthur, is too small to accommodate the most efficient ships working the Lakes.
“For far too long America’s economy has been at risk because we have only one Poe-size lock,” Weakley said. “The Department of Homeland Security predicts 11 million Americans will lose their jobs if the Poe Lock is down for just six months. President Trump’s signing of this bill means we can now concentrate on funding the lock.”
The new lock is projected to cost approximately $922 million and take seven years to build.