This afternoon, I'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway is a US-Canadian waterway that has carried over 2.5 billion tons of cargo, valued at over $375 billion since its 1959 opening by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II.
This binational project is a vital maritime gateway that moves cargo between North America and international markets. The Great Lakes Seaway System stretches over 2,300 miles from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Lake Superior.
So, if you live near the Great Lakes, you probably already appreciate the value of the Seaway for delivering the goods you use as well as the goods your region produces.
If you aren't familiar with the Seaway, it's a tremendous engineering feat that stands as a testament to all that can be accomplished when great nations work together to invest in their economic welfare-– not just for the present, but for generations to come.
But an asset like the Seaway must be kept in good repair. Too much is at risk to let this route and its locks, markers, bridges, ports, and other tools succumb to time and the ravages of weather and water. That's why US Seaway Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. reminds us that it's "important to remember its history, but most important to prepare the Seaway to meet tomorrow's needs and challenges."
And we have taken Administrator Johnson's words to heart. At the celebration today, we will highlight the $17.5 million Asset Renewal Plan to begin addressing long-term Seaway infrastructure needs.
Today, we'll be celebrating the Seaway's history and anticipating its future at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, New York. I am looking forward to the trip, and to sharing my photos and impressions in a future entry.