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Issues & Advocacy

Policy Positions

Equitable Distribution of Port Infrastructure Grants

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; $230 million in FY2021; $234 million in...

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Stand Up the Great Lakes Authority

In 2022 Congress enacted legislation to create the “Great Lakes Authority,” a new economic development agency for the Great Lakes Region. The authority is to be governed by a nine-member board with a federal co-chair appointed by the President, and one board member appointed by each of the eight Great Lakes Governors. The authority may...

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Complete the Soo Lock Project

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...

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Improve Great Lakes Icebreaking

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...

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Eliminate the Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes Navigation Maintenance Backlog

Due to years of inadequate funding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been unable to maintain Great Lakes navigation infrastructure. Over the next five years Great Lakes navigation channels will require $540 million of dredging to maintain authorized channel dimensions. Breakwaters and other federal navigation structures need $505 million in repairs, and the Soo...

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Improve U.S. Customs & 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 processing of shipping containers and passengers is more complicated than the processing of traditional Great...

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Harmonize the Seaway Navigation Season with the Soo Locks

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. AGLPA Position In an...

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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...

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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...

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Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes include 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater and host diverse communities 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 replace...

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