Each year, $16 billion worth of commodities – approximately 19 million tons of agricultural products, building materials, coal and other industrial products and raw materials – travel through the locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System. Increased costs and delays resulting from lock closure would disrupt this vital transportation corridor, impacting a myriad of industries and entities throughout the region.
During a time of widespread financial struggle, this region cannot afford the crippling costs associated with closing the Chicago locks. A study conducted by DePaul University finds economic losses for the Chicago region alone will total over $582 million in the first year of closure and reach $4.7 billion over the next 20 years.
After more than a century of operation, closing the Chicago locks will have serious consequences for the U.S. economy. The bottom line is that any lock closure, even intermittent closure, will cost jobs – stagnating economic recovery across the region.
The Economic Effects of Terminating Lock Operations
Professor Joseph P. Schwieterman, at the DePaul School of Public Service and Director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development outlines the costs associated with lock closure.