Construction of a second Poe-sized Lock is critical to Michigan and the United States, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said in his State of the State address earlier this month.
The governor pledged that he will work with Congress to get funding for the project, which is likely to cost $590 million. The second lock was first authorized by Congress in 1986, and then again in 2007, but funds for the project have not been appropriated.
“This is something we need to work with Congress on and getting done,” Gov. Snyder said.
Each year, 4,000 commercial vessels transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, but most of the tonnage goes through the Poe Lock because it can accommodate the largest and most efficient vessels, according to Gov. Snyder.
“The Poe Lock is absolutely critical to our future. What would happen if that one lock went down? It would devastate Michigan’s economy. To be blunt, it could devastate the national economy,” Gov. Snyder noted.
The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Iron ore for the steel industry is the primary cargo moving through the locks. Other cargos moving through the Poe Lock include western coal and limestone.
The governor stressed the country would “run out of steel” if the Poe Lock failed.
Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to re-evaluate the project. In last November, the Corps received $1.35 million from the Obama Administration to study a reconfiguration of the Soo Locks.
Writing by Nadeem (c) gCaptain