Policy Positions

FUND CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW SOO LOCK

Owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lock complex at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan (“Soo Locks”) enables ships to navigate the St. Marys River, which connects Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Congress has authorized construction of a new large lock at the Soo. The project... Read More

IMPROVE U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION SERVICES

In recent years, Great Lakes ports have been working to develop new business in two distinct areas: containerized cargo shipping, and passenger cruise tourism. These new business sectors have presented a challenge for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The inspection and processing of shipping containers and passengers is more complicated than the processing of... Read More

EXPAND PORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT GRANT FUNDING

In 2010, Congress authorized a Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to be administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration. While the program remained unfunded for many years, Congress provided first-year funds of $293 million in the FY2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Congress continued program funding at $225 million in FY2020 and $230 million in FY2021. In three... Read More

BUILD A NEW GREAT LAKES ICEBREAKER

Heavy ice threatens the reliability of Great Lakes-Seaway transportation early and late in the navigation season. The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for breaking ice to ensure navigation and enhance safety. The agency’s Great Lakes icebreaking fleet consists of nine vessels: six 140-foot icebreaking tugs, two buoy tenders, and the heavy icebreaking cutter Mackinaw. Severe... Read More

EXTEND THE SEAWAY NAVIGATION SEASON

The opening and closing dates of the St. Lawrence Seaway vary from year to year due to weather conditions and the demands of commerce. The system’s locks have opened as early as March 20 and as late as March 31. The closing date has ranged from December 24 to December 31. Position: In an effort... Read More

REFORM GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE

All ocean-going ships operating on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway are required by law to hire marine pilots to assist with navigation. In U.S. portions of the Great Lakes, pilotage services are provided under a regulated monopoly system managed by the U.S. Coast Guard. The system is outdated, inefficient, and costly. The Coast... Read More

MAINTAIN SAFE AND EFFICIENT COMMERCE THROUGH THE CHICAGO AREA WATERWAY SYSTEM

Constructed between 1887-1922, the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) provides a connection between the inland river navigation system and the Great Lakes, facilitating the movement of commercial maritime commerce and recreational boating. The waterway also serves an important role in the sanitation and flood control system serving Chicago and Northwest Indiana. In an effort to... Read More

FUND THE GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE

The Great Lakes include 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater and host a diverse ecosystem of aquatic and terrestrial life. Launched in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was created to accelerate efforts to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. The GLRI seeks to... Read More

FUND THE GREAT LAKES COASTAL RESILIENCY STUDY

Throughout the Great Lakes region, coastal areas are under threat from fluctuating lake levels and extreme weather events. While we cannot control the weather, ports and their host communities can be better prepared through long-term planning. The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study was launched in 2016 by Great Lakes states in partnership with Army Corps... Read More