U.S. House authorizes $922 million for new Soo Lock in Michigan

The U.S. House passed a bill September 13 authorizing the federal government to spend $922 million on a new navigation lock in northern Michigan, a project that Great Lakes shippers and local boosters have been pushing for decades.

While the bill—which now goes to the Senate for passage—doesn’t guarantee funding for the long-awaited project in Sault Ste Marie, it is an important step forward for a plan that could take seven to 10 years to complete and employ as many as 15,000 people in the Upper Peninsula during its construction.

The authorization for the project was part of a larger package of water infrastructure projects that came to the House floor on Thursday just days after being finalized in committee. It was passed on a unanimous voice vote and is expected to pass in the Senate as well.

“Today’s legislation makes it crystal clear: President Trump, Republicans and Democrats support a new lock in the Soo,” said U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, who has been pushing for authorization of the project and is likely to be a key member to secure funding as the state’s only member of the Appropriations Committee. “After 50 years of harsh winters and extraordinary maintenance, we need to build a second lock to be ready in case the one lock we have fails.”

The legislation was brought to the House floor after key committee members in both the House and the Senate agreed on what would be in the package.

Maritime Editorial