The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says construction of a second Great Lakes navigation lock for large freighters will be included in its 2020 budget request to the Trump administration. Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Sugrue of the agency’s Detroit district says the Soo Locks upgrade will have to compete with others from around the nation.
“This project is consistent with initiatives to ensure our national security,” Sugrue told reporters on a conference call Monday. “Specifically, the Soo Locks and proposed new lock are necessary to sustain a viable domestic steel industry.”
The report notes if the Soo Locks were to be shut down for six months, 11 million jobs would be lost around the country. Congress will make the final decision about whether to fund the $1 billion project, which lawmakers approved in 1986 but have never put money toward. A new analysis significantly boosts the project’s benefit-cost score, which should improve its prospects. Only one of the existing locks can accommodate the 1,000-foot freighters that haul iron ore and other bulk cargo between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.