Bipartisan House Bill Passed to Fund New Soo Lock

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that is finally getting the ball rolling on adding a new lock to the Soo.

Legislators want to build a second lock to handle Great Lakes freighters. Currently, a 50-year-old lock is handling 70 percent of all the big ship traffic.

The legislation passed with support on both sides of the aisle.

The Soo is important for Michigan’s economy and the nation’s.

“Right now, that one lock accommodates almost all of the shipping of iron ore and many other goods from Minnesota through the Great Lakes. If that lock fails, the damage is instantaneous,” said Michigan congressman Paul Mitchell.

Congressman Jack Bergman serves Michigan’s first district and wants to make sure Washington prioritizes this new lock project.

“The next step after this is to make sure we get the money appropriated,” said Bergman. “The priority of the lock project [needs to] come out in the President’s budget.”

A new lock is something Sault Ste. Marie as needed for a long time. The new lock would cost $922 million and it would allow Sault Ste. Marie to handle even more traffic and business, especially if something were to happen to the 50-year-old lock that’s handling all the big freighters now.

Congressman Mitchell urged his legislative counterparts to consider the Soo’s asset.

“I urge passage of this bill as a next step in building the 1,200 foot lock of the Soo Locks so we can ensure our national security and our economy is not devastated by the failure of one lock,” said Mitchell.

Now, the legislation goes to the senate for a vote.