LANSING — The Michigan House unanimously approved House Resolution 160 yesterday, 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. The resolution now moves to the Senate for consideration.
“I’m grateful for the unanimous support on the House floor of my House Resolution 160,” said Cambensy. “It is important that state legislators stood together to call on Congress to appropriate the funding for a new lock. Understanding the economic impact should we put off building the lock, it is imperative to send this resolution to Congress to ensure the viability of this critical trade corridor into the future.”
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.