The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge . . . A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.That is amazing! Not one of the most fuel-efficient ways . . . THE most fuel efficient way.
The ability to move large quantities of things so cheaply, and to move extremely large items as well, should make this region attractive to ... not an "innovation" economy or an "information" economy (which can go anywhere) . . . but a manufacturing economy. In fact, our region was built for manufacturing.
Public officials who don't know facts such as these, or the history of how this region developed, don't know enough to be able to lead Upstate back to prosperity . . . and are probably doing things that produce the opposite result.
So even though Upstate was built for manufacturing, what has New York done? New York did everything possible to make manufacturing impossible. It sent our cheap hydropower out of the area. It placed a toll on our major superhighway. It imposed overly complicated regulations. . . So even though we have the cheapest mode of moving raw materials and goods from one market to another, businesses no longer give Upstate a second look -- at least not without heavy taxpayer subsidy.
Upstate legislators need to work to roll back the changes in state policy that have hindered manufacturing. If they do, then maybe some of our manufacturing-friendly assets such as the canal will start working in our favor again.
As for Griffiss, I blogged on this before, but I will again: It's biggest potential is as a multi-modal cargo port: Rail, Air, Highway and Canal all come together there. We need to make the most of this.