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Soo Locks

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state of Michigan could pay $50 million to help upgrade the Soo Locks – that’s if the federal government takes the lead.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and some state lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump today pledging money to add another 1,000-foot lock between lakes Superior and Huron.

This would help get raw materials between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes more easily.

President Trump made upgrading the locks a point of emphasis in speeches earlier this month.  

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder is happy to see President Trump giving attention to the Soo Locks.

“I’ve been arguing for this for some time and it’s great to see the president get on board. Let’s encourage him to follow through and get this done,” Snyder said.

Trump heard from three Michigan lawmakers about the locks and decided to bring up the issue in a speech in Macomb County last week.

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
USACOE

Michigan members of Congress hope that President Trump’s promise to upgrade the Soo Locks will get the long-stalled project moving.

Trump made the announcement in a speech Saturday in Macomb County.

“You know what the Soo Locks are?" Trump said to cheers from the audience. "Well, the Soo Locks are going to hell. You know that, right? And we’re going to get them fixed up. We’re going to get them fixed up.”

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Four years ago, I went to see Mark Schauer, then the Democratic nominee for governor. He had rightly criticized the Republicans for letting the roads fall apart, and vowed to fix them.

But when I asked how he was going to get the money for that, he really didn’t have an answer. My guess was that he didn’t want to risk losing votes by saying he was going to raise taxes. I left wondering if he deserved to win.

USACOE

When we think of Michigan’s contribution to the war effort during the Second World War, most think of the Arsenal of Democracy, of Rosie the Riveters helping build thousands and thousands of B-24 Liberator bombers at Willow Run.

But the U.S. war effort also depended mightily on the Soo Locks, to the point where it feared a Nazi attack on the locks.

The Calumet
shipwrecklog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Coast Guard says a Great Lakes freighter has run aground in the St. Mary's River, which runs between the U.S. and Canada along Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula.

The Coast Guard says the 629-foot (192-meter) U.S. vessel named Calumet left a steel facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and was heading to its next port when it ran aground late Wednesday near Sugar Island. No injuries were reported.

Steve Carmody / MICHIGAN RADIO

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan’s congressional delegation is getting ready to fight for a big piece of federal spending on infrastructure. They want roughly $1 billion to upgrade the shipping lanes of the Soo Locks.

“There’s been no comprehensive improvement in the locks in over 50 years, and we are concerned we are on borrowed time,” said  Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The locks in Sault Sainte Marie don’t have enough room to handle modern, larger ships. The locks also have a lot of aging components. 

U.S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

DETROIT (AP) - President Donald Trump's spending plan for 2018 includes $77.6 million for operation and maintenance of Great Lakes shipping channels and related infrastructure, including the lock system at Sault Ste. Marie.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District oversees operations in Michigan and parts of Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

U.S Army Corps of Engineers

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - A federal report lists upgrading the Soo Locks shipping complex among 40 proposed infrastructure projects nationwide that would give the economy a significant boost.

  The locks network at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, enables vessels to move between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.

Auchter's Art for August 19, 2016.
John Auchter / www.auchtoon.com

There is nothing quite as annoying as the overenthusiastic zeal that comes with the recently discovered — especially when it has been commonly known and readily accessible for years and years.

So I apologize in advance, but, OHMYGOSH, YOU GUYS! HAVE YOU SEEN THE SOO LOCKS?! THEY ARE AWESOMINGLY AMAZING!!! 

Last month, I finally made my first visit to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Soo Locks.

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wants Congress to go to work now on finding money to upgrade the Soo locks – even though no one knows yet how much it’s going to cost.

Governor Snyder sent a letter to all 16 of Michigan’s members of Congress asking them to start laying the groundwork for the case to fund a renovation that includes adding a new lock that can fit large, modern freighters.

From the letter:

Soo Locks open for the season

Mar 25, 2016
The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
USACOE

The Soo Locks opened for the 2016 season Friday.

The locks, which allow ships to move between Lakes Superior and Huron, close in the winter for repairs. This year's improvements included a new hydraulic system, anchorage repairs, and replacing the de-watering bulkhead coating for the Poe Lock, according to a press release from The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership. 

Additionally, crews worked to modernize the MacArthur Lock's electrical system. MacArthur Lock closed for part of last summer because of unexpected repairs.