The Great Lakes are unique waterway system in the world and have been part of the economic resilience of the area since the founding of the country. It is also likely to be part of recovery in the future as the U.S. develops its infrastructure to again compete on the international stage. Shipping is a major supply chain cost factor and with a little analysis I think it would be possible to find a great place to coordinate shipping to reduce the cost of both procuring materials and shipping finished products.
Enhancing the Soo Locks and keeping evasive species out (environmental enhancement) while at the same time increasing trade volume is the line of thinking we should explore more. As we increase the use of shipping (and revenue) we will also want to ensure a certain percentage of that money goes back into improving the shipping and improving the health of the system.
Sustainability means that a system is created whereby increased revenue means increase investments that improve the health of the Great Lakes. If one can find the "sweet spot" they can improve revenue and improve the environment at the same time whereby increased economic activity could be beneficial for other concerned parties that include business and environmental stakeholders. Business and reducing global warming don't have to be on opposite ends of the spectrum but perhaps we could find some way of enhancing each other.
The following was taken from a press release......
|Washington - Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its FY21 work plan to reflect the appropriations provided in H.R. 133. The work plan includes an additional $46.543 million for continuing construction of a new lock at the Soo, bringing the total FY21 funding up to $169.763 million. This is in addition to the $63.815 million available for operations and maintenance on the St. Mary's River - including Soo Lock Asset Renewal. |
Rep. Bergman stated, "The FY21 Army Corps work plan is a great next step in our effort to build a new Soo Lock, rebuild critical waterway infrastructure, and protect our Great Lakes from invasive species. Just a few short years ago, many of these projects were considered pipe dreams - but through our collaborative effort, a new Soo Lock is being built, and early stages of the planning for the Brandon Road project are beginning."
On January 8th, Rep. Bergman signed a bipartisan letter urging the Army Corps to prioritize Great Lakes projects.
With the enactment of key authorizations and funding provided by Congress at the end of 2020, the bipartisan group identified continued Soo Locks improvements, Asian Carp prevention, and implementation of both the Great Lakes Resiliency Study and the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration program as top priorities. Read the full letter here.
You can find the entire FY21 Army Corps Work Plan, which includes many First District priorities here.