Michigan Governor urges National Governors Association to support building second Poe-sized lock

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) has sent a list of projects that will benefit the nation to the National Governors Association (NGA) and a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan tops the list. The NGA collected priorities from all the governors and then forwarded them to the White House.

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway and are one of the nation’s most economically vital systems. Year in, year out, more than 80 million tons of cargo transit the Soo Locks and most of that tonnage moves through the Poe Lock. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers it a potential single point of failure in the crucial iron mining—steel production—manufacturing supply chain. So important is the Poe Lock, DHS forecasts nearly 11 million Americans would lose their jobs if the Poe Lock was out of service for just six months.

The lock is estimated to cost $672 million and would create approximately 15,000 construction jobs during the 10-year construction period.

Construction of a second Poe-sized lock was authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but an inaccurate analysis of the benefit/cost (b/c) ratio stalled the project. The mistaken assumption that the railroads could move the stranded cargo set the b/c ratio at 0.73, but a recent study by the U.S. Department of Treasury estimates the b/c ratio could be as high as 4.0. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has acknowledged the current b/c ratio is flawed and a new analysis is due by year’s end.

Maritime Editorial