On the first anniversary of President Biden being sworn into office, the White House announced a series of investments financed through the bipartisan infrastructure program that was signed into law last year. Within the $14 billion effort that will fund more than 500 projects, several directly affect the maritime community.
For years, the MTD has worked with its affiliates and industry partners to seek a new lock within the Soo Locks complex between Lake Superior and the rest of the Lakes to accommodate the largest vessels traversing the waterway. The administration designated more than $470 million to complete the construction for the new lock to complement the Poe Lock, currently the only structure capable of handling the thousand-footers.
Much of the media focus on last year’s supply chain crisis focused on the ports serving the Los Angeles area. To help alleviate the current congestion and work to prevent future complications, the White House stated it would invest $8 million to improve commercial navigation within the Port of Long Beach. Included in the project is support for design work to widen the port’s main channel, deepen its entrance channel, and build an approach channel and turning basin.
On the Atlantic coast, the administration will fund $69 million to improve navigation and expand capacity in the harbor for Norfolk, VA. Work will include deepening and widening its shipping channels to improve navigation and enable safer access for larger commercial and naval vessels. Norfolk saw a 67 percent increase in the number of containers moving through its docks over the last 10 years.
In the press release announcing these and other infrastructure-related expenditures, the White House noted, “Modern and resilient infrastructure strengthens our supply chains, supports U.S. competitiveness and economic growth, and protects communities from accelerating impacts of climate change.”