LANSING — The House Committee on Commerce and Tourism unanimously approved House Resolution 160 today, which urges Congress and federal agencies to provide greater support for ports, harbors and critical Great Lakes infrastructure, including the Soo Locks reconstruction project. Introduced by state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) in September, the resolution is part of a comprehensive effort to formally call on the federal government to adopt the Great Lakes 2020 Agenda and take meaningful action to protect the health, economy and ecology of Michigan and the Great Lakes region.
“I’m pleased that my resolution urging greater federal support for ports, harbors and critical Great Lakes infrastructure was up for a hearing today in Commerce and tourism,” said Cambensy. “I appreciate my colleague’s bipartisan unanimous support of this resolution, and their commitment to ensuring the Soo Locks remain strong and viable going forward. It is impossible to overstate the critical importance of the Locks for the regional and national economy. I look forward to continuing to advocate on this issue in the days and weeks ahead.”
According to a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report, 100 percent of iron ore mined in the U.S., worth $500 billion annually, passes through the Soo Locks. Handling 68 million tons of commerce and saving industries $2.7 billion in transportation costs each year, the Soo Locks rank first in the nation in economic significance. DHS found that if the locks were ever forced to close, it would cause $160 million in decreased economic development within 30 days and the loss of 11 million jobs within six months. Furthermore, 100 percent of North American auto production would halt within weeks of a closure and the nation’s GDP would decrease by $1.3 trillion.
Cambensy’s resolution now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.