Congressmen Board Laker, Head to Soo Locks |

Congressmen Board Laker, Head to Soo Locks

Updated: September 04, 2019 09:26 PM

The MV Roger Blough has been on many trips so far this season. But on Wednesday, along with iron ore pellets made on the Range, she had two Congressmen aboard, as she makes her way down to the Soo Locks.

Pete Stauber, a Republican who represents the 8th district in Minnesota, and Jack Bergman, a Republican representing Michigan's 1st district, are highlighting the economic and security importance of the locks.

Stauber is on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Before they left, during a press event at the CN ore docks, he said, "I'm incredibly excited to see this critical piece of infrastructure in action. The Soo Locks are absolutely imperative, not just to the Great Lakes economy, but to our national and economic security."

Bergman said, "It's a 30 hour education for us, to understand what the iron ore shipping industry is all about, on the greatest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior."

According to the leaders, the president has indicated he supports over $75 million dollars for the start of the new lock. But port officials stress there needs to be consistent funding every year, to get the $1 billion+ project done.

Mining officials know the importance of the locks. "Approximately 90% of the nation's iron ore flows through the Soo Locks," said Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association. "There's a pinch point in the entire infrastructure and transportation system, and it's the locks."

The two congressmen will hold a press conference when they get to Sault Ste. Marie. That's also where Stauber went to college. "My dorm room overlooked the Soo Locks," he remembered. "I'd see the lakers line up, 3-4 deep."

And there is going to be a welcoming committee there from his alma mater, according to Bergman.

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