Snyder, Calley: U.S. Army Corps study reinforces urgency of Soo Locks upgrade, improves benefit-cost ratio for project completion

A new study released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers June 29 improves the benefit-cost ratio for building a new lock at the Soo Locks and stresses the economic consequences of not fixing the vital shipping corridor, Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley of Michigan said.

All of the iron ore mined in the United States runs through the Soo Locks and a six-month shutdown for any reason would result in an estimated 11 million lost jobs nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Upgrading the Soo Locks is essential to our economy, not just in Michigan but across the entire nation,” Snyder said. “The Army Corps study released today reinforces the pivotal role the locks play in our economy and the need to make this upgrade a priority for funding. The significance of this project cannot be overstated.”

The revised economic study released by the Corps shows the financial feasibility of upgrading the Soo Locks as well as establishing an updated, more accurate and improved benefit-cost ratio for the project. The new study scores the Soo Locks upgrade benefit-cost ratio at 2.42, a level that reflects the high priority this project deserves. The prior study indicated a lower benefit-cost ratio of 0.73.

“The Army Corps study reinforces what we in Michigan have been saying all along—we need another 1,000-foot lock in Sault. Ste. Marie and the funding for the project is long overdue,” Calley said. “The high scoring for the project shows the significance of the Soo Locks upgrade and underscores why it is a top priority for President Trump. A shutdown at the locks would be devastating to the entire nation.”

The Corps conducts studies periodically for significant infrastructure assets. These studies score projects based on financial feasibility, establishing a benefit-cost ratio, which is used by the federal government to prioritize funding.

To leverage federal funds for the project, Michigan has proactively committed $50 million to help jumpstart the project and is encouraging other states to make similar commitments. Since President Trump’s visit to Michigan in April, where he expressed support for fixing the Soo Locks, the state of Michigan launched a public awareness campaign and has been building a coalition of supporters to help complete this project, which was first approved by Congress in 1986.

For more information on the effort, click here.

Maritime Editorial