Last week I blogged about the arrival of spring in the nation's capital. Today, I am delighted to announce another spring ritual, this one celebrated on both sides of our northern border: the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 2010 navigation season.
This U.S.-Canadian waterway is a vital maritime gateway that moves cargo between North America and international markets.
Since its opening in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway has carried over 2.5 billion tons of cargo, valued at over $375 billion. That's a lot of cargo.
And Seaway commerce now sustains an estimated 150,000 jobs, $4.3 billion in personal income, and $3.4 billion in business revenues each year for the regional economy. That's a few billion reasons to celebrate the Seaway's reopening today.
You can view a range of interactive maps at the Seaway website
At the Seaway's 50th anniversary celebration last July, I stressed our commitment to making the necessary capital investments in the Seaway, so it can continue to serve us safely and reliably. And we secured nearly $18 million to rehabilitate the Seaway’s U.S. lock facilities. This Asset Renewal Program is having a positive impact on the North Country economy and providing good jobs in these tough economic times.
The Seaway is a magnificent achievement, and its operation is fascinating. I encourage you to learn more about its history and technology at the binational website, www.greatlakes-seaway.com. It's a great introduction to a great resource.I am very optimistic that the 2010 Seaway navigation season will feature an uptick in tonnage and ship transits as our economy recovers. However busy the Seaway gets this shipping season, I know our SLSDC will do its part to ensure the safety of the cargo and crews passing through this important waterway.