Big Changes on Horizon for Soo Locks
DULUTH, MN – “The impact of the Soo Locks is felt nationwide,” Congressman, Pete Stauber says.
That statement was the theme of today’s press conference where future improvement plans for the locks were announced.
It’s not unusual for more than seventy thousand tons of iron ore to be carried on a vessel using the locks.
That is not even the main export on the great lakes.
“Our number one overseas export is grain. About one to two million tons move through this port every year,” Deb Deluca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director says.
In the wake of the latest emergency shutdown of the Poe Lock just last week, changes are now in motion to keep that lock operating more smoothly.
“We’ve received a seventy-five-point-three million dollar appropriation in President Trump’s budget. But then the U.S Army Corps of engineers has another approximately eight-hundred million that’s going to be needed to double the size of the Poe Lock,” Iron Mining Association President, Kelsey Johnson says.
These political leaders believe modernizing the fifty-one-year old Poe Lock, along with adding a new lock would be a big boost to the economy.
“One-point-three trillion dollars flows through basically the Soo Locks to the steel making and manufacturing jobs throughout the United States,” Johnson says.
Total costs to upgrade the Soo Locks with all the requested improvements would be over one billion dollars.
Congressman Pete Stauber is among those pushing for quick action.
“Making sure that the appropriators and the President and his administration understand that the size of the Poe Lock is critically important,” Congressman, Pete Stauber says.
Congressman Pete Stauber boarded the Roger Blough, and is traveling to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. There he is scheduled to hold another press conference in hopes to bring attention to the need of building the second lock. He is scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m.