At last week’s Mackinac Policy Conference, Governor Snyder and leaders of both legislative chambers pledged $50 million in infrastructure funding to aid in the much-needed renovations of the Soo Locks. This state funding commitment is the first of its kind.
The announcement comes just weeks after President Trump voiced his support for the Soo Locks Modernization Project while at a campaign rally in Washington Township, Michigan.
Projected to cost nearly a billion dollars, the State of Michigan hopes its investment in the Soo Locks Modernization Project will be a signal to Washington, D.C. that the project cannot wait. As President Trump has stated publicly that large-scale infrastructure projects leveraging non-federal investments will be moved to the top of his priority list for federal funding, some think this announcement may be the impetus for quick movement on the project.
While the rebuild of the locks was authorized by congress decades ago, the funding required to complete the project has never been allocated.
A much-anticipated impact study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also expected to be completed later this month. The commander of the Corps’ Detroit District, which includes the Soo Locks, has stated publicly that the results of the study “look favorable.”
In addition to the financial investment, the State of Michigan has launched a "Fix the Soo Locks" website, which appears to be led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.