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New Soo Lock funding included in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2019 work plan

The image above is an Artist Rendition that illustrates what it might look like if a Second Poe-Sized Lock replaced two of the older locks (left portion of the photo). (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District)

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has submitted its work plan for 2019 to Congress.

According to the Corps, the plan includes $32 million as an initial outlay for the design and construction of a new, second freighter-sized lock at the Soo Locks and is prepared by the Corps as an outline of how it will allocate funding for its work in the year ahead.

A letter from October, written by Congressman John Moolenaar, who is a long-time supporter of building a new lock at the Soo Locks, includes a request for funding in the work plan.

The bipartisan letter was signed by 27 other members of Congress from Great Lakes states.

Following the news of the funding being included in the 2019 work plan, Moolenaar released the following statement:

"My colleagues and I called for the Army Corps to include this crucial funding for new Soo Locks construction in the 2019 work plan. Today's announcement is real progress and it means design work will begin on a new, second Lock. We only have one lock right now and it's 50 years old, so starting this process sooner is vital to ensuring we have a second lock to support the millions of American jobs that depend on the iron ore that goes through the Soo each year. Working with Congressmen Jack Bergman and Paul Mitchell, our colleagues in the House, and by gaining President Trump's support in April, we are now closer to making this project a reality for the first time in decades. I also want to commend the leadership at the Army Corps for including this funding in the work plan and I look forward to working with them as the project moves forward in the years ahead."

Congressman Jack Bergman also released a statement about the funding that says the following:

“This is great news for Michigan’s First District, the Great Lakes region, and the entire U.S. economy, which relies on the Soo Locks. I'm proud of the progress we’ve made to finally break ground on a project that’s been delayed for decades. I also applaud the Trump Administration for acknowledging the importance of a new Lock, and for working with the House, Senate, and Great Lakes industries to make construction of a new Lock in Sault Ste. Marie a reality. This new construction funding, coupled with the $57 million allocated in FY18 for modernization of the Poe, is a great next step. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to continue getting the job done for northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula."

In October, the Corps released more information into the New Soo Locks project after President Trump signed the America's Water Infrastructure Act into law.

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