A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives from eight Great Lakes states have written the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reevaluate its position on the need for a second lock in Sault Ste. Marie complex capable of handling the thousand-footers plying between Lake Superior and rest of the lakes.
The elected officials are all members of congressional Great Lakes task forces. A total of 12 Senators and 26 Representatives signed the February 21 letter.
The legislators note studies by the Corps and authorized by Congress in 1986 and 2007 showed that a second Poe-sized lock was not economically viable. However, the members of Congress point out a study by the Department of Homeland Security done in October 2015 “concluded that the Poe Lock is the Achilles’ heel of the North American industrial economy and [a possible six-month closure] would send the United States’ economy into a recession.” They added that the Corps acknowledged “inaccuracies in its original benefit-cost ratio determination that left the project unable to compete for federal funding.”
The letter calls on the Corps to conduct its reevaluation in a style consistent with other navigation lock and dam projects around the country, “and that every step is taken to expedite the completion of this critically important analysis.”
At its Executive Board meeting last year, the MTD in conjunction with its affiliated International Association of Machinists and the Seaway Task Force called on the federal government to build a second Poe-size lock in the Soo Locks system as part of a larger, comprehensive infrastructure program.