Monday, November 10, 2008

Canal Comeback: Upstate Comeback? Griffiss Potential?

This NYT story almost slipped by unnoticed, but eagle-eye NYCO caught it in her "Erie Canal revival?" post: Hints of Comeback for Nation’s First Superhighway .
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.


Greens and Beans said...

Strikeslip you wrote; “As for Griffiss, I blogged on this before, but I will again: Its 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. We should also add that this area produces clean and economical hydro power that could facilitate our return to manufacturing. Our upstate manufacturing could be the “greenest” cleanest manufacturing in the Nation and perhaps the greenest in the entire World. However, New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) with its muscle to invoke corporate emanate domain, is intent to ship this precious natural resource to prosper other more affluent areas. Plus, to add insult to injury, in doing so, they will increase our energy costs and trample on our pristine environment. I have witnessed the blatant excessive clear cutting of swatches through the wetlands, pavement markings indicating underground utility installations in obscure places like lower Barnes Avenue, both seem to point to the foundations of NYRI’s desolation intentions. If we are serious about ever mounting an economic comeback, we will have to stop handicapping ourselves out of existence.

Terrace said...

Strikeslip, thanks for the hat tip. Did you see this latest on the new container port to be built in Oswego by 2011? The Erie Canal officials are (rightly) enthused about it.

This is pretty huge.

Greens and Beans said...

Thanks! After reading the Post Standard article, it would be in our best interest to closely track the progress of the proposed Barge cargo port to be located in Oswego. If the port is built, perhaps we should look into developing our Harbor Point district. But this would take forethought and the all but unattainable feat of cooperation between our State, Oneida County, and the City of Utica elected officials.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Shipping on the canal. Barges towed by snowmobiles in the winter or if Albert Gore is correct about our causing global warming, year-round shipping on an unfrozen canal, so urge everyone to keep exhaling carbon dioxide now and forget cap and trade. We must get this idea to our politicians now!

Anonymous said...

The idea of an international air cargo port at Griffiss has been kicked around and studied at taxpayer expense since the 1960's. Now we have an international airport there at great taxpayers expense with virtually no flights of any kind. And, one wonders why the area continues to decline?