Bipartisan effort made new Soo lock a reality

Important improvements to the Soo Locks became closer to reality this week after President Donald Trump authorized funding for the $922 million project.

And, we have our former state senator, John Moolenaar (now a U.S. congressman), and current Congressman Jack Bergman — both Republicans –to thank for that. The two accompanied Trump to a political rally at Selfridge Air Force Base in April, where the President, after being lobbied by the two, addressed his support for building a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie.

But, make no mistake, this is an issue that has the support of both Republicans and Democrats, who often join forces on issues impacting the Great Lakes.

Both Bergman and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, called the news this week “a big day for Michigan.” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, also a Democrat, said it now is important that the Great Lakes congressmen and senators work again in a bipartisan manner to prioritize funding for the project in the upcoming budget.

A new lock is important to ensure more traffic through the important bottleneck on the lakes. While currently there are two working locks at the Soo, one can handle only about 60 percent of Great Lakes traffic because of its size.

If anything happened to the current locks, it would have a “devastating” impact on the nation’s economy and national security.

This week, a large step was taken to construct the new lock. Now, it’s on to securing funding in the budget to allow the work to begin.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)