NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bill authorizing new Soo lock passes US House

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

A bill authorizing funding for a fifth Soo Lock passed the US House of Representatives Thursday.

State and federal lawmakers have long called for the construction of a new lock big enough to move commercial vessels.

A Homeland Security report from 2015 said an unanticipated failure of the Poe lock could result in 10 million people losing their job in the US.

US Congressman John Moolenaar supports construction of a new lock. He says the bill authorizes full funding for the Army Corps of Engineers estimate of 922 million dollars, but the funding itself would still need to be appropriated in the federal budget.

“We still need to appropriate the funds and that’ll be our job in the coming years to make sure the funds are appropriated to build the new lock.”

Authorization for a new lock has been given twice in the past, but Moolenaar says never at this level.

He said strong support from both Democrats, Republicans, and the President himself have helped move the needle on getting the full funding approved.

A similar bill still needs to move through the US Senate.