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News Soo Locks project one step closer to filling $800 million hole

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The U.S. Senate recently passed their version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). It determines what federal water projects will go through to congressional appropriations and receiving funding.

The Senate’s bill includes nearly $3 billion in funds for the new Soo Locks project in Sault St. Marie. A sum that would fill the funding gap caused by inflation and supply chain disruptions.

For weeks, it was unclear if the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers was going to be able to make the deadline to include the new request for provisions in the WRDA bill.

"But we were able to complete that in 97 days. And I think typically, you'd probably spend maybe six months, or a year going through that. But it requires a team of people to sit down everything else and just focus on this one thing," said Kevin McDaniels, a District Engineer for the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers.

The U.S. House of Representatives has also passed their version of the WRDA bill and now must hold a joint conference with the Senate to condense the bill into one. The timeline for the conference is unclear.

"The next step is that we as an agency would then be able to put forth what we would refer to as a capability, saying that we are capable of expending the $804 million dollars in the options for that contract," said McDaniels.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.