Leaders in the House and Senate on Sept. 11 released the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill that will fund America’s water resources and infrastructure.
The legislation authorizes the construction of a second 1,200-foot lock at the Soo Locks, a key priority for Michigan. Inclusion of the funding authorization follows an Army Corps report in June that urged the building of a second lock because of the Soo Locks' strategic value and vital importance to America’s economy and national security.
The authorized funding of a new Soo Lock has the support of President Donald Trump, who backed the project during a visit to Michigan in April, after meeting with Michigan congressmen Jack Bergman, Paul Mitchell and John Moolenaar.
Congressman Bergman, whose district includes the Soo Locks, welcomed the legislation:
“Each additional year we depend on the 50-year old Poe Lock, we risk detrimental effects to our economy,” he said. “Since taking office I've worked with my colleagues in the House, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) leadership, and the Trump Administration to highlight the dangers to our economy and national security that an unexpected closure would have on our nation. The authorization included in this water infrastructure package is another major step forward in our goal to build a new Lock. As the process continues, I will work with my colleagues to ensure this project remains a priority and receives the necessary funding.”
Congressman Mitchell, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, worked to include the project in the water resources legislation and made the following statement:
“The authorization for the construction of a second 1,200 foot lock at the Soo Locks is a huge step forward on a critical project. I’m proud that through teamwork and persistence, we are finally seeing movement forward on this essential project to upgrade the locks,” he said. “Any failure at the Soo Locks would have a devastating ripple-effect on our nation’s economy and national security. I will continue to do anything and everything possible working with my colleagues, the administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers to move this project toward groundbreaking and completion to protect our economy and our nation.”
Congressman Moolenaar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has successfully advanced Michigan's priorities on the committee. He is a long-time advocate of building a second Soo Lock and he will work to fund its construction through his work on the committee. He made the following statement:
"This authorization is a huge step forward for building a new Soo Lock and many of us have been working together in Congress to make this happen,” he said. “Through my meetings with Army Corps officials, I know they are ready to start on this important infrastructure project. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will be working to advance this vital priority for our state and fighting to ensure it receives the funding it needs to move forward."
Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) supports the efforts to build a new lock, said MFB national lobbyist John Kran. “Michigan’s economy is heavily dependent on our manufacturing and agricultural industries, both of which are extremely reliant on a sound transportation network to get their products into the supply chain. The Soo Locks handles more than 75 million tons of commerce annually and provides critical transportation connection for delivery of raw materials and products that our state and country depend on.”