Gov. Whitmer Tours Soo Locks, Talks Their Importance & Her Optimism A Budget Deal Will Soon Be Reached

Governor Gretchen Whitmer took time to visit Northern Michigan and learn about the issues important to our area.

Tuesday, she toured the Soo Locks for the beginning of her tour of the Upper Peninsula, after she spent a week touring the Northern Lower Peninsula.

“I’ve been to the Soo many times, I’ve seen the Locks in action, but to walk through with the Army Corp of Engineers, it helps inform how serious the work is that we have to do,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Whitmer added one more visit to the Soo Locks today. She says it’s critical for upgrades to be made there.

“It’s not just Michigan’s economy that would suffer if this went down,” Gov. Whitmer said. “It is all of the Great Lakes states and frankly it’s the whole country, we all depend on getting this done and that’s why we’re putting such a priority on this.”

Another top priority for the Governor is getting a budget passed.

Back in March, Gov. Whitmer introduced her proposal for a 45 cent tax increase to combat crumbling roads and bridges.

“Legislature has not come back with any alternative on how we get it done,” Gov. Whitmer said.

“Schools, not just in the Soo, but across the Upper Peninsula, across the whole state of Michigan, started their fiscal year a month and a half ago. They don’t even know what they’re working with and yet they’re supposed to be able to balance their budgets when the state hasn’t even gotten their jobs done yet,” Gov. Whitmer said.

She is optimistic a deal will be reached in time to avoid a government shutdown.

“I’ve been at the table all summer, when they decide they want to come back and get serious about working, we’re going to have to move fast and get something on my desk by the middle of September,” Gov. Whitmer said.

Republican Senator Wayne Schmidt toured the Soo Locks with the Governor today, and says a deal will be reached in time.

“It’s a huge priority,” Sen. Schmidt said. “I’ve served going on my eleventh year now, I’ve balanced it eight years in a row, we’ve presented a balanced budget to her but there are negotiations.”

“We continue to work on it, nobody’s on vacation, we’re all either working in Lansing or working in our districts,” Sen. Schmidt said.

Lansing lawmakers have to reach a deal before October 1, the start of their new fiscal year.