Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – Efforts to construct a new Soo Lock took a big step forward as Michigan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, have signed a memorandum of agreement officially committing Michigan’s contribution of up to $52 million for the new lock at the Soo Locks facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
“The Soo Locks are essential to our economy and national security. The time is long overdue for construction to begin on the new lock,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “I’m pleased that the work is finally getting underway and hope that Congress quickly provides the rest of the funds needed to complete the project.”
The state’s contribution will be used to pay for construction activities, including a portion of the channel deepening as well as design work for the new lock. It is estimated that Michigan’s contribution, combined with the Corps’ $32 million, will accelerate the project’s completion by one year, saving taxpayers an estimated $30 million.
“We have seen more progress in efforts to make the Soo Locks upgrade a reality this year than we have in decades,” Calley said. “I’m proud that Michigan’s commitment combined with the Corps’ recent investment is helping begin the initial steps for the new lock. Together, we are making this essential project a reality.”
This Soo Locks project was authorized by Congress in 1986, though funding never followed. Michigan accelerated its advocacy for the Soo Locks project following President Trump’s visit to Michigan and commitment to the project in April.
"The state of Michigan's contribution demonstrates their commitment to the construction of the New Soo Lock and highlights the importance of the project to the state and the nation," said Lt. Col. Greg Turner, district engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. "Combined with the funds received in the fiscal year 2019 Work Plan, the state of Michigan's funds allow us to get after the project's critical path and execute the entire upstream channel deepening, buying down risk by moving the project completion ahead nearly a full year and saving an additional $30 million."
Progress this year has included:
- A website, www.michigan.gov/fixthesoolocks, launched in April to educate stakeholders about the importance of this project.
- Commitment in May of up to $52 million in state funds made to accelerate the project.
- Release in July of a new economic study showing the financial feasibility of upgrading the locks, showing an improved benefit-cost ratio for the project.
- Reauthorization of the project in October at its current cost-estimate of $922 million.
- The Corps committed $32 million to the project for fiscal year 2019, in November.
To learn more about Michigan’s efforts to move the Soo Locks upgrade project forward, visit www.michigan.gov/fixthesoolocks. Additional information is available on the Corps’ Website at: www.lre.usace.army.mil.