NEMWI Co-Hosts Briefing on Efficiently Funding the Soo Locks

The Great Lakes Governors & Premiers and the Northeast-Midwest Institute co-hosted a briefing on Thursday, October 17, focusing on the importance of the construction of a new Soo Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. In 2018, Congress authorized the construction of a new “Poe-sized” Lock at full federal expense after the US Army Corps of Engineers completed a benefit-cost analysis that favorably rated the construction of a new Lock. The Great Lakes Governors & Premiers, along with a large coalition of regional stakeholders, continue to support this important project, and have called on Congress to provide the necessary funds for this critical project in FY 2020 and in future budget and appropriations cycles.

Both the House and Senate FY 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bills include $75.3 million for the construction of a new Lock, which is what was included in the President’s FY 2020 budget request. The bill has been approved by the full House and the Senate Appropriations Committee, but has yet to be considered by the full Senate. Additionally, if Congress provides additional funds in the FY 2020 E&W Appropriations bill for the US Army Corps’ FY 2020 Work Plan, the Corps could allocate up to $48.5 million in additional funds for the new Lock in addition to the $75.3 that’s included the House and Senate bills. 

Presenters at the briefing included Mike Piskur, Program Manager, Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers; Vanta Coda, CEO, Ports of Indiana; Larry Karnes,Freight Policy Specialist, Michigan Department of Transportation; and Tom Rayburn, Director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs, Lake Carriers Association. 

An audio recording of the briefing can be accessed through this link. Presentation slides can be found here.

Please contact Matt McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, if you have any questions.