New Soo Lock Could Be Paid By The Steel Industry
There are many people, groups, industries and elected officials who are calling for an additional Poe Lock to be built in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes.
I understand their want and even the need for a second Lock but the question I have is who should pay for it?
One of the industries that is asking for a second Poe Lock is the steel industry. The steel industry though, understandable is asking for us the taxpayer to publicly fund the construction of that second Poe Lock. I read an article in the Michigan Capitol Confidential that stated approximately 50% of the iron ore used in American steelmaking goes through the Poe Lock. Why the Poe Lock, because it is the one lock at the Soo Locks that can handle the 1,000-foot “lakers” used to carry the iron ore across the Great Lakes.
According to the article a 2015 Department of Homeland Security study found:
that if this lock were shut down for a period of six months or longer, unemployment would rise by 5.8 percentage points and the U.S. gross domestic product would shrink by $1.1 trillion, or roughly 6 percent.
The question does still remain who should pay for that second Lock. Should we the taxpayers or it beneficiaries, the steel and other industries? Yes the ultimate end user of the steel is the public when we buy the products that use steel, so does that mean we should publically fund the project. We will end up paying for it one way or another.
The government believes the construction of a second Poe Lock could cost at least $700 million. That being a government estimate I believe the cost would probably come in at closer to $1 billion $400 million dollars.
As I stated above, the need for a second Lock is probably needed, but where should the main source of funds for the construction, maintenance and operation of a second Poe Lock come from. Should the steel industry pay for it since they would be the primary user and beneficiary or us the taxpayer?