In late November, after three decades, the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that $32.4 million will go towards the Soo Locks as part of the fiscal year 2019 plan. This comes after President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 in late October, which authorized funding for the Soo Locks project. The new funds will be used to continue projects that were stalled in 2009. The projects included deepening the upstream channel to accommodate some of the largest Great Lakes’ freights.
Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers Association and Acuitas client, told the Detroit News that, “Money added by Congress and the Corps over the last decade has been used for rehabilitation of the existing locks and for some preliminary construction for the new lock, but this is the first time the Corps has funded construction on its own. It is a great day for Michigan, the Great Lakes region, and the entire nation. We are elated.”
The entire project is expected to cost $1 billion and could take up to seven years to build. The next opportunity for funding to complete construction and continue the design of a new lock chamber will be the 2020 President’s Budget.