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Old 16-09-2016, 08:48   #1
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Erie canal under fire?

Just read this
A Piece Of The Past, A Price In The Present: Paying For The Erie Canal : NPR
It seems that NY recently lost a lawsuit because they were funding the canals with road tolls. (it seems the canal tolls only equal 1.5 millon of the 55 million operating expenses) They have since transferred the canal to the power authority.
But reading the story it seems they have not accurately accounted for the tourism and boater impact on the area. There seems to be lot's of local business that exist do to the canal (tour boats, marina's boat yards, barge companies, canal front restaurants). I was in Syracuse and Oswego for a weekend getaway a few weeks ago and the canals were a big reason for me ( I would have preferred to be on a boat but just visiting museums and walking the canal was fun).

Anyways wondering if anyone else had thoughts on keeping it open and what boaters can do to help.
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Old 16-09-2016, 10:59   #2
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

This argument seems to come up regularly. The canal isn't making money, so why should taxpayers (or toll payers) pay for it?

By that argument, we shouldn't pay for air traffic control. Or plowing non-toll streets and highways. Or for national parks. Or any just about any national or state infrastructure.

Colin makes some good points about the overall economic impact, even beyond the historical value. I'd also point out that the canal is a resource that, once lost, can never be replaced.

Personally, I'd like to see highway tolls eliminated, too. All of society benefits from good transportation, why should just the people who happen to own the vehicles pay? Infrastructure that benefits all should be paid for out of general funds. If politicians were honest about what are taxes are paying for, and who is and isn't paying their share, and I suspect a lot of things would change.
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Old 16-09-2016, 11:09   #3
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
This argument seems to come up regularly. The canal isn't making money, so why should taxpayers (or toll payers) pay for it?

By that argument, we shouldn't pay for air traffic control. Or plowing non-toll streets and highways. Or for national parks. Or any just about any national or state infrastructure.

Colin makes some good points about the overall economic impact, even beyond the historical value. I'd also point out that the canal is a resource that, once lost, can never be replaced.

Personally, I'd like to see highway tolls eliminated, too. All of society benefits from good transportation, why should just the people who happen to own the vehicles pay? Infrastructure that benefits all should be paid for out of general funds. If politicians were honest about what are taxes are paying for, and who is and isn't paying their share, and I suspect a lot of things would change.
I have to agree with your view on taxes certain things are better off paid for that way. People get crazy about infrastructure, but a lot of the little towns along the canal really do get a boost from it that's hard to quantify.

After walking the canal I'm really hoping I can do a great loop trip in the future. My wife (a big day salior but not a cruiser) even seemed to like the idea.
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Old 25-09-2016, 01:58   #4
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

One of the big reasons for the lawsuit was the NY State taxes. We pay the highest taxes in the US. New York has a tax or user fee for everything. Part of the problem is the upstate economy is in shambles yet the taxes keep rising. Most of the canal system runs through economically depressed areas. The luxury items like the canal among a host of other wants help keep our taxes rising as the overall economy continues to decline along with the population. People here are frustrated with the ever increasing taxes and are quick to condemn anything that seems to be non essential. The NPR cost estimate doesn't include the cost to repair the hundreds of bridges that cross the canal. The NYS cost shell game assigns those costs to road funds. When one considers the total cost this luxury item becomes an easy target. I'm not implying the canal is worth it or not but just want to give a little background on why it is an easy target. Then we can throw in the costs related to fuel consumption waiting for the lift bridges as well as the time lost for the occasional boat to pass through. Hope this helps shed some light on the situation.
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Old 26-09-2016, 14:37   #5
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

have it on good authority that it is not being maintained now. it is essentially the only way South out of the Great Lakes other than the Champlain Canal and the drainage ditch out of Chicago. If it has been turned over to a power company then it is gone as they will only use it as a holding system for the power plants.
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Old 26-09-2016, 15:17   #6
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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Originally Posted by Kalinka1 View Post
have it on good authority that it is not being maintained now. it is essentially the only way South out of the Great Lakes other than the Champlain Canal and the drainage ditch out of Chicago. If it has been turned over to a power company then it is gone as they will only use it as a holding system for the power plants.
Hi neighbor.

Here is a link to some of the closures that have or are occurring: https://wwwapps.canals.ny.gov/news/notices/

There have been several emergency closures due to collapsing embankments and what have you in the last several years just in my area. I live 4 miles from the Brockport, NY area which has a bridge closure now. I have to alter my route going to work frequently due to bridge closures or emergency repairs. It's unfortunately dying a slow death.
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Old 29-09-2016, 20:37   #7
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

I get a sense that exists only to provide economic support for upstate communities. Remarkably few boats seem to use it from my experience. It really does not make sense to pay for it with highway tolls. If it is a valid economic stimulant than pay for it directly from taxes rather using a run-around. If it were to close it would hurt communities along the waterway but I don't really think it generates all that much revenue for these towns. There just are not enough boats stopping to do this. In many cases, one ties up at locks and these are often not close to towns. If it were to close it would be a PITA for Great Lake sailors wanting to get south but you could still do it. One time we wanted to go from Toronto to NYC and the Erie was closed so we went via Lake Champlain. Exactly twice the distance so more fuel plus the cost of the Seaway locks, but it is doable.
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Old 29-09-2016, 21:30   #8
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

Taxation is counter to the basic concept of freedom. It's other people spending your money on their pursuits. Just like government, it can never be limited as is eloquently displayed in this thread.

If you want the canal, pool your money with the others to support it. Forget it, that's work. It's much easier to elect someone that will steal it for you.
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Old 29-09-2016, 22:29   #9
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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Taxation is counter to the basic concept of freedom.
Taxation is a modern term for one of the basic concepts of civilization- it's a sharing of production from a community with leadership to rationalize it's economy. Whether it's 3 chickens contributed for help in thatching a barn roof or 5 pair of leather moccasins for annual protection from a neighboring tribe, it's barter leveraged and made efficient. Or you can find a cave, kick the bears out, and eat berries and moss by yourself. I guess that would be freedom. Of course you have the freedom to leave the community, and the freedom to stay in the community. If you believe taxation has run amok, you can leave, stay, or try to become part of the leadership. That is freedom.
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Old 30-09-2016, 07:00   #10
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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One of the big reasons for the lawsuit was the NY State taxes. We pay the highest taxes in the US. New York has a tax or user fee for everything. ....
I'm sure you are correct. Maybe it's time for New Yorker's to rethink who they elect to office, eh? It won't be long before they run out of other people's money.
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Old 30-09-2016, 07:30   #11
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

The canal still has some commercial traffic.
General Towing
Not enough to pay for itself but it's there. It is also used for power generation so some maintenance is required for that. The article says it's 50 million a year to run and maintain, and 1.5 million is generated in user fees. I would think they could up the user fees at least a little.

Economic benefit is tough to figure but take alook at the number of marine facilities along the canals.
Marinas and Public Docks - New York State Canals

The employees of each one adds up to a fair number, then include boat sales etc into economic activity gas sales it adds up. Then you have waterfront restaurants tour boats etc. I have to imagine as far as cost benefits work out for state spending this can't be all that bad. Then you have tourism, When I was walking along the canals a month ago I noticed the parking lots at the little parks were filled with out of state plates. The canal seems to help tourism in the area alot outside of the boats passing thru.
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Old 30-09-2016, 07:49   #12
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

Boaters get disproportionate benefit from canals (and harbours and aids to navigation and GPS etc etc), but waterways also appeal to others too. I imagine that there are canalside paths and other attractions as well for others.

Some things are worth keeping. I hope that somehow the Erie canal system remains viable.
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Old 30-09-2016, 08:06   #13
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I'm sure you are correct. Maybe it's time for New Yorker's to rethink who they elect to office, eh? It won't be long before they run out of other people's money.
I don't think who is elected that is the problem. The problem is the people want, want, want with no realistic concept of where the money is coming from. They all bitch up a storm about the high taxes but then vote for ever increasing programs or stuff. It's really absurd. Here is a prime example of the stupidity that pervades. Every year the school budgets are voted on and every year people vote for an increase with very few going down in defeat. In the Monroe County area the average per pupil cost is over $15,000 per year. Times 12 years = $180,000 per pupil times 2 kids = $360,000. Then the geniuses bitch about the high property taxes while most of these inbreds will never pay near enough to cover this cost alone in a lifetime. Then they want roads, water, fire, police, ambulance, road plowing, etc, etc. They never ask where is the money coming from? We have the highest educated most ignorant people anywhere. Then the ultimate gaul is for upstate to denigrate NY City when they pay for most of this stuff. I don't intend to engage in a political debate but I won't hesitate to point out the economic stupidity of wanting more than you can afford or are willing to pay for. Unfortunately the Erie is an anachronism that is a financial liability that no one is asking how can we afford this when we want all this other stuff. The result is a lawsuit against the shifting of funds for one want to fund another want. Our politicians are just following the direction of the people. Sad isn't it?
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Old 30-09-2016, 09:00   #14
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

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. My wife (a big day salior but not a cruiser) even seemed to like the idea.
Take her to the AGLCA AMERICAN GREAT LOOP CRUISING ASSOCIATION meeting. they have atleast 4 a year. Lots of good info and lots of wives to meet. My wife got all fired up to do this when she found other girls involved. It was a very well planned weekend. Kept you busy without alot of waisted time. Please check them out.
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Old 30-09-2016, 14:15   #15
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Re: Erie canal under fire?

We transited Albany to Osweg this summer. I was very surprised at how little through traffic there was. NO commercial traffic or even shoreside facilities for commercial traffic. Very few towns on the water. So this does not surprise me.

That said I'd hate to see it go. Somethings are worth keeping just for their own sake.
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