As directed in the Senate Report (S. Rept. 114-243) of S. 2844 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017), the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC or Corporation) is providing an annual report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on the status of its infrastructure Asset Renewal Program (ARP). Annual reports are expected to be sent to the Committees over the life of the program. In addition, Committee staff will be updated throughout each year, as needed and upon request, on any significant changes to the plan’s schedule, estimates, or execution.
The start of the ARP in 2009 represented the first time in the SLSDC’s 50-year history that a comprehensive effort had been undertaken to modernize the Seaway infrastructure, including rehabilitation of and improvements to the U.S.-operated locks, the navigation channels, the Seaway International Bridge, and other Corporation-owned facilities and assets located in Upstate New York. None of the ARP projects increase the authorized depth or width of the navigation channel or the size of the lock facilities.
The Seaway is comprised of perpetual assets (locks, channels, an international bridge, highway tunnel, vessel traffic control system, and accompanying facilities and equipment), which require capital reinvestment in order to continue to operate safely, reliably, and efficiently. The U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway was built in the late 1950s at an original cost of
approximately $130 million. Prior to the start of the ARP in FY 2009, only $47 million in capital expenditures had been cumulatively invested in the U.S. Seaway locks since they opened in 1959. Without sufficient investment in the SLSDC’s perpetual assets, the future availability and reliability of the U.S. section of the St. Lawrence Seaway would be at risk. Although the
SLSDC has maintained a 99 percent reliability rate over its history, the ARP is necessary to accomplish this level in the future.
In FY 2016, the SLSDC obligated $10.9 million on 15 ARP projects, which primarily included obligations of $9.2 million for the first phase of replacing the SLSDC’s tugboat Robinson Bay and $1.6 million to continue installation of hands-free mooring system technology at Eisenhower Lock.