Reps. Benishek, Nolan Lead Delegation Tour of the Soo Locks

Press Release

Date: July 9, 2015
Location: Sault Ste Marie, MI

On Saturday, June 28, Dr. Dan Benishek lead a delegation of members of Congress, as well officials from the State of Michigan, Minnesota, and the Canadian government to tour the Soo Locks.

"Riding aboard the Paul R. Tregurtha, the largest laker in the Great Lakes, I saw firsthand the skill required to move the 1000 foot lakers through the locks," noted Dr. Benishek. "We are here to highlight the importance of the Locks as a matter of national security and to discuss their impact on our regional and national economy. If the locks go down, there is no question that the economy will suffer."

Dr. Benishek lead the delegation of elected and appointed officials to discuss the history of the Soo Locks, as well as the need for maintenance and construction of a new lock. Congress authorized construction of a new lock years ago, but funds have not yet been appropriated. Dr. Benishek has been working with his colleagues in Congress to encourage the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to look at mechanisms for funding the construction of a new lock in the near future.

"Moving forward with the construction of a new lock is a top priority. Without a new lock at the Soo, routine maintenance on the existing lock cannot be completed. Long-term unplanned outages, which a preliminary report by the Department of Homeland Security has called "catastrophic for the nation," would cost millions in terms of jobs loss and economic impact. I am committed to getting this project done."

The USACE has announced that they plan to move forward with a new cost benefits analysis on the construction of a new lock, as omissions in a previous analysis lead to funding delays. Dr. Benishek will continue to work with his colleagues to move this process along as quickly as possible.