Great news for Michigan and our country.

The Detroit News is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to approve legislation which include authorizing $922.4 million to build a large replacement lock at the Upper Peninsula's Soo Locks.  The bill authorizing the funding now heads to the U.S. Senate.

Many of us have visited the Locks in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan and saw what an engineering marvel and great asset to Michigan and the country they are.

According to Saultstemarie.com:

The first State Lock was built in 1855. Up until then, explorers, fur traders, and Native Americans portaged their canoes and cargoes around the rapids. Everything would change when a 21-foot drop in water levels was rendered less important with the construction of a Lock. Much has been written about the history of this impressive facility.

Our congress will still will still need to be appropriate the funds in the next spending cycle.

Congressmen Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, whose district includes the locks was quoted in the article stating:

This modernization project is long — as in decades — overdue…We’ve accomplished more in the first 18 months of this session than was done in the last 18 years.

The accomplishment comes after a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which they released this summer that recommended a replacement 1,200-foot-long lock to mirror the 49-year-old Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie.

That study concluded that our Poe Lock is a weak link in the North American industrial economy.  If there was an unplanned six-month closure, that closure could cause the U.S. economy to go into a deep recession, costing up to 11 million jobs.

The Poe which is the only one of the four aging locks in Sault Ste. Marie owned and operated by the Army Corps in the Soo, is big enough to handle the largest freighters that carry approximately 89% of the cargo through the Great Lakes corridor.

If the funding passes the U.S. Senate it sounds like a big win for Michigan and the country, which will also create a lot of good paying jobs in the U.P.

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