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Soo Locks vital to economy

EDITOR:

The economic engine of iron and steel is responsible for more than 115,000 jobs in Michigan, paying a total of nearly $8 billion in wages and salaries annually, while generating $29 billion in industry output and $3 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

The steel industry has developed innovative materials and manufacturing technologies that have led to the introduction of new advances in high-strength steel grades for cars and trucks, in addition to sustainable building construction, energy transmission and development, among others.

Michigan is home to the Soo Locks, a strategic asset that is key to the competitiveness of the American steel industry. More than 75 million tons of cargo annually passes through the Soo Locks, including nearly all of the iron ore that is mined in the United States for use by the American steel industry. The Soo Locks are the only waterway connection from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, making it a critically important piece of federal infrastructure — especially for the steel industry and the industries that depend on it, including the automobile industry.

The American Iron and Steel Institute thanks Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01) for working to ensure that this important resource to U.S. national security and economic health is appropriately revitalized, and for his leadership role in ensuring this funding was secured. Due in large part to the congressman’s leadership, the House Appropriations Committee supported the full FY 2020 funding level for the Soo Locks modernization effort. Construction of a new lock is now a reality.

The tens of thousands of steel industry and related jobs in Michigan depend on this resource. We urge the U.S. Senate to ensure this funding is retained.

Thomas J. Gibson

President and CEO

American Iron and Steel Institute