Kaptur Introduces Legislation to Establish Great Lakes Authority

Today, Rep. Marcy Kaptur – alongside Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-12) Bobby Rush (IL-01), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Joe Morelle (NY-25), and Haley Stevens (MI-11) – introduced the Great Lakes Authority Act to establish and fund the Great Lakes Authority.

The full text of the Great Lakes Authority Act can be found here: Great Lakes Authority Act of 2022.

The Great Lakes Authority would serve as a federal entity dedicated exclusively to advancing solutions to the challenges faced by the eight states of Great Lakes region – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Together, these states contain the core of the United States’ commercial and defense industrial base, as well as the largest freshwater system anywhere on Earth.

While the federal government has an array of commissions, authorities, and bureaus responsible for guiding long-term development and environmental conservation in other regions – the Great Lakes region lacks such support.

The Great Lakes Authority would be empowered to:
• Promote economic development and job creation, and create world-class workforce education, training, and adjustment institutions to spur economic growth in communities disproportionately affected by the outsourcing of jobs
• Restore and protect the Great Lakes which are the principal source of surface freshwater in North America
• Foster innovation to strengthen and expand domestic manufacturing and promote cleaner and more sustainable power production
• Establish and administer funding mechanisms to finance clean energy, green infrastructure, water infrastructure, and broadband infrastructure projects

The Great Lakes Authority Act provides for the Great Lakes Authority to receive $30 million in funding beginning in fiscal year 2023, and $50 million each fiscal year thereafter.

“The Great Lakes region is the industrial workhorse that powers America,” said Rep. Kaptur. “But after decades of bad trade deals that outsourced living-wage jobs and fomented dei-ndustrialization – the need for a robust new partnership that catalyzes regional revitalization is abundantly clear. By investing in workforce development, innovative energy technologies and manufacturing processes, and responsible stewardship of our precious Great Lakes ecosystem – the Great Lakes Authority will unleash the Heartland’s full potential for this 21st century.”

“The University of Toledo applauds Representative Kaptur’s bold vision to place the Great Lakes region as a global leader in manufacturing, innovation, commerce, and environmental and social justice through the forward-looking Great Lakes Authority Act of 2022,” said University of Toledo Vice President of Research Dr. Frank Calzonetti. “The bill rightly identifies the assets of the region, as well as challenges that can be addressed through planning and investment, that will not only benefit the region, but improve the entire nation’s economic security and global leadership. The University of Toledo looks forward to working with the Congresswoman on the many elements of the new Authority through our education, research and community engagement initiatives.”

“We appreciate Congresswoman Kaptur’s leadership in pursuing the development of a Great Lakes Authority,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President & CEO Baiju R. Shah. “The Authority can be a catalyst to drive regional economic growth, broaden regional prosperity, and protect the world’s largest source of freshwater. Through public-private initiatives and by fostering multi-state collaborations, it will spur innovation, job growth, and talent development in sectors such as smart manufacturing, water technology, and alternative energy that are critical to America’s competitiveness.”

“Great Lakes ports support this legislation and commend Congresswoman Kaptur for her leadership,” said American Great Lakes Ports Association Executive Director Steve Fisher. “By creating the Great Lakes Authority, the federal government can now become a partner in the economic restoration of the Great Lakes region.”

“The Great Lakes region is an economic powerhouse, generating $3.1 trillion in GDP while employing 25.8 million people, and supporting $1.3 trillion in wages,” said Northeast-Midwest Institute President and CEO Dr. Michael Goff. “However, in recent years manufacturing employment has declined and population growth in the Great Lakes has slowed, putting new economic and social strains on our region. These and other challenges are unique to our region and NEMWI applauds the tireless efforts of Rep. Kaptur, along with Reps. Rush, Dingell, Tonko, Stevens, Schneider, and Morelle to craft legislative answers in finding new economic development mechanisms that can help revitalize the Great Lakes.”

“The Great Lakes region is not only a treasured environmental watershed but is uniquely positioned, with the right investments, to be an economic powerhouse to drive innovation and economic development for the 21st century,” said Rep. Dingell. “As a co-chair of the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Great Lakes Authority Act, which will help strengthen the Great Lakes regional economy, as well as the nation, by boosting investments in long-term economic development projects across the manufacturing, defense, infrastructure, and clean energy sectors.”

“The Great Lakes are central to our way of life,” said Rep. Kildee. “They foster billions of dollars in economic activity in our local economies and support millions of jobs in the fishing, boating and tourism industries. I am proud to support this legislation to help protect our Great Lakes, promote our economic development, invest in workforce training and help create more good-paying jobs here in Michigan.”

“As a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, I’m dedicated to enhancing our historic waterways and strengthening the resiliency of lake-shore communities, like my own district of Rochester, New York,” said Rep. Morelle. “The Great Lakes region faces unique opportunities and challenges – that’s why I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Great Lakes Authority Act to help ensure these communities have the resources they need to flourish and prosper. I look forward to working alongside Rep. Kaptur and our partners to preserve our Great Lakes for generations to come while also finding new and creative ways to leverage their strong economic assets.”