Study: Closing Locks Could Cost Chicago $4.7 Billion

Economist proves Chicago’s economy will take a dump if shipping locks are closed

By Aixa Velez
|  Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010  |  Updated 1:24 PM CDT
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The Illinois Chamber of Commerce conducted a study projecting the cost of closing two Chicago-area shipping locks could cost the city $4.7 billion over the next 20 years.

Economist Joseph Schwieterman from DePaul University led the study and expects Chicago’s economic loss to be around $531 million annually for the first seven years.

"The Schwieterman study shows, through well-reasoned economics, that closing these locks will have a devastating effect on our local economy, resulting in the loss of potentially hundreds of area jobs and hurting a range of industries and services," said Jim Farrell, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Infrastructure Council, reported the Chicago Tribune.

A previous study conducted back in February by Wayne State University in Michigan, had drastically different results from Schwieterman’s findings. The Wayne State study concluded closing the locks would cost about $70 million in economic losses.

The states surrounding the Great Lakes want the locks closed to prevent Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

Illinois officials say closing the locks would hammer the Chicago economy and is no sure bet to keep the carp out of the lakes, according to the Associated Press.

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