Huizenga leads bicameral, bipartisan call for reevaluation of Soo Locks project in Michigan

Rep. Bill Huizenga

A recent bipartisan, bicameral letter led by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) highlighted the importance of completing a study on the economic impact a new navigation lock would have at the Sault Ste. Marie Locks complex in Michigan.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently conducting an economic reevaluation of the Soo Locks project authorized by Congress in 1986 and 2007.

Huizenga, the co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, called for timely and accurate revaluation in a letter to USACE leaders.

“This revaluation is necessary due to erroneous assumptions later acknowledged by USACE in its original economic analysis,” the letter states. “We write to ensure that USACE engages stakeholders and considers appropriate transportation alternatives to ensure an accurate benefit-cost ratio (BCR) analysis for the project, which is critically important to our states and the entire country.”

The letter notes USACE is reevaluating the BCR analysis by calculating transportation rate savings based on a conveyer belt system being used as an alternate system to transport commodities around the falls at the Soo Locks.

“It has come to our attention that this alternative has never been considered for other lock and dam projects, and that transportation via rail or truck have historically been the alternative methods considered in a BCR analysis,” the letter states. “We therefore encourage USACE to ensure that the BCR reevaluation of the Soo Locks project is conducted in a manner that is consistent with other navigation lock and dam project evaluations regarding alternate transportation modes, and that every step is taken to expedite the completion of this critically important analysis.

Also signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force; U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force; U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN); and U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman (R-MI), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mike Turner (R-OH), David Trott (R-MI), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Paul Mitchell (R-MI).