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Old 08-10-2015, 06:37 AM   #1
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Interesting Erie Canal Article

https://www.yahoo.com/news/190-years...144440524.html
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:11 AM   #2
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Had no idea the canal cost that much to operate. Planning on doing the Loop in 2017. With the speed at which the courts and government moves or doesn't, should be able to get through before anything changes. Really hate all the government waste, until it's something I want.

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Old 08-10-2015, 07:11 AM   #3
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Gratifying to see that almost all the reader comments to that piece are strongly supportive of maintaining the system.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:20 AM   #4
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Someone posted a link not too long ago on the canal.....

The cana. Is a major distributer of water through NY State and I believe the article essentially said that the canal was worth opersting...just not billing the right users.

Maybe the suit will straighten that out and not require shutting down.

I think the canal generates a huge portion of the national economy. All the wannabe loopers work hard their whole life to retire and afford a looper boat....where do all those dollars fit in the world of make believe economics?
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:59 AM   #5
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Had no idea the canal cost that much to operate. ...Really hate all the government waste, until it's something I want.

Ted
My first reaction was close to Ted's second point. But I spent some time pondering the economics.

I don't think you can just divide the $55M annual operating cost by the roughly 108,000 passages, and charge each boater $510. Actually, 5 nights at a marina in most popular boating cities in the Northeast would cost at least that.

But, the canal doesn't just benefit boaters.

How much should it cost to jog or bicycle along the tow path? How much do you charge the local families who picnic along the banks?

How do you put a price on water management? And how do you divide that price up among all who benefit from it?

What about preserving history, the character and economic viability of the towns along the canal, etc.?

I've come to the conclusion that it just makes sense for society, in the form of taxpayers, to chip in a certain amount. Oh no! Does that make me a socialist?
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:53 PM   #6
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I am headed to Lake Erie tomorrow for a survey and sea trial on a boat there. If all goes well I will be bringing the boat through the Welland Canal to Lake Ontario, then the Oswego Canal to the Erie Canal in a few weeks. I have done the trip once before about ten years ago so I am looking forward to doing it again.
If the Erie Canal was not there and we had to make the trip down the Saint Lawrence to the Atlantic ocean then the we would not have considered the boat at all.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:05 PM   #7
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I am headed to Lake Erie tomorrow for a survey and sea trial on a boat there. If all goes well I will be bringing the boat through the Welland Canal to Lake Ontario, then the Oswego Canal to the Erie Canal in a few weeks. I have done the trip once before about ten years ago so I am looking forward to doing it again.
If the Erie Canal was not there and we had to make the trip down the Saint Lawrence to the Atlantic ocean then the we would not have considered the boat at all.
A hidden part of the overall economy that shortsighted bean counters don't always include when making recommendations.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:10 PM   #8
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Interesting indeed! That's us! just home from 4 weeks on the canal & Lk Champlain. Met a couple of TF members along the way.

The article fails to account for all the fees they collect from businesses that operate along canal corp property and have to pay annually... not sure about private homes but would suspect they also pay a fee?
Haven't tallied it all up but guessing we dropped roughly four boat bucks to local businesses along the way - supplies, food, marinas, meals, fuel, etc.

NY Canal Corp has spent a LOT of $ on paved walking / biking paths w/ signage, bridges & fences that get used w/o any fees why not charge all users of the "facilities" an annual access fee.

People forget that fees & taxes on boats, equipment & fuel are paid into the general fund w/o being "dedicated" to boating infrastructure. Similarly - auto fees & taxes support non-toll roads.

Also - how much has NY spent in the last 5-10 yrs for hiking trails - land acquisition, paving, bridges, parking areas, signage, etc, etc and charge $0 - revenue zip - nada... why not require a hikers user card to be purchased?
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:15 PM   #9
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A year ago I did part of the canal and started a thread that touched on some of these issues. I am not surprised to see that recreational revenue is $165,000 and annual operating costs are $55 million.


As noted in the article there are other benefits from the canal than just recreational boaters: hikers- but I didn't see many, commercial- only saw one commercial barge in 10 days on the canal, hydropower- definitely saw that, water management. Water management may be the best reason to save the system. There must be thousands of canal front homes that exist because of the constant water level. Their water front docks and structures would be wiped out if the canal didn't exist.


So should user fees be upped to pay for it. No way. It is a park and should be supported like parks where user fees pay some fraction of the operating costs. But $100 maximum for a season pass which may cover 30 or more days of two way travel is also way too low.


For state and national parks, user fees typically pay for routine operating and maintenance costs but not capital costs which are borne by general tax revenues. My guess is that user fees cover 25-50% of the total annual outlay. It would take a big increase in recreational user fees to get there.


So there is no easy solution. And don't blame the truckers. They do have a point.


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Old 08-10-2015, 04:40 PM   #10
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I've done a lot of cruising on the canals this year, and have been really amazed by how few people are using them. I can run all day, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday and run into less than 10 boats. As often as not, I have a whole lock to myself. During the week, I'm the only guy out there.

It's dirt cheap. 75 bucks for a season pass with my boat. That's not even a consideration for most boaters. But still, nobody's using it. There are a couple of ugly locks, but for the most part, they're in great shape. They're all clean (except for the expected lock slime) and well painted, even tastefully landscaped. You can tell they put good money into them.

I worry about the future of the canal. It hardly seems sustainable. If it shuts down to navigation, the nature of my boating experience will change dramatically.
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:06 PM   #11
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We too have cruised the canal for many years from end to end. The increases in fuel that started around 2007 is what has really put a damper on recreational boating. Raising fees will only contribute more to the decline. NY taxes are the highest in the country already, surely the 55mm the canal costs can be found somewhere to support this historical waterway that does much more than just host recreational boaters.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:06 PM   #12
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It would be even more expensive to shut it down. Loss of easy water movement, real state taxes, and eye sore to all those towns would be epic. If you shut it down you could always place your boat on a ship and move it. I think that business could be set up easily.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:22 PM   #13
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I am headed to Lake Erie tomorrow for a survey and sea trial on a boat there. If all goes well I will be bringing the boat through the Welland Canal to Lake Ontario, then the Oswego Canal to the Erie Canal in a few weeks. I have done the trip once before about ten years ago so I am looking forward to doing it again.
If the Erie Canal was not there and we had to make the trip down the Saint Lawrence to the Atlantic ocean then the we would not have considered the boat at all.
Just curious, if the boat is already on Lake Erie, why not just take the Erie Canal from Port Colborne to where you're heading to ? No need to go through the Welland Canal (up to 12 hours) and then all the Lake Ontario to Oswego, Oswego canal and finally the Erie Canal ? Let me guess the boat is higher than 15 feet

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Old 08-12-2015, 11:23 PM   #14
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I was very interested to read that the State's Constitution requires them to maintain the canals. I expect without that they would have closed down decades ago.

I grew up just down the street from the Delaware and Raritan Canal. It wasn't until I cruised from NYC south that it finally dawned on me just where that canal went, and what a huge deal it was back in its time. Imagine a short-cut straight across New Jersey (across the narrow part) leading straight to the C&D Canal? That's what it was. NYC to the C&D used to be 80 nm. Now it's 180 nm. But I never saw a boat, and never saw a lock operate. By the 70s it had already been long abandoned.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:41 AM   #15
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I was very interested to read that the State's Constitution requires them to maintain the canals. I expect without that they would have closed down decades ago.
I never knew that, either. I'm glad it's there!
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:36 AM   #16
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In 2014 their budget was $1.7 Billion.

The canal is a tiny portion of the budget , win or loose they get far more in fed handouts than the canal costs to operate.

ALL the rust belt towns generate some revinue from the boats , thats why they keep city docks for free use , many with free electric too.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:54 AM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. dvoyer. Welcome aboard.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:58 PM   #18
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Just curious, if the boat is already on Lake Erie, why not just take the Erie Canal from Port Colborne to where you're heading to ? No need to go through the Welland Canal (up to 12 hours) and then all the Lake Ontario to Oswego, Oswego canal and finally the Erie Canal ? Let me guess the boat is higher than 15 feet

Dominic
Yes the clearance is about 17 feet.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:15 PM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. dvoyer. Welcome aboard.
Thank you, I've been reading here for a long time and I just realized with your reply that it was my first post

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Old 08-14-2015, 10:26 PM   #20
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We ran the whole Erie last year from Albany to Buffalo and it was one of the highlights of our Great Loop trip.

I am amazed that we can use all these canal and locks for a very small fee. Maybe that will change like everything else.

Because we draft 5'7" we didn't want to go north into Canada where we would have hit bottom more times than I would care to count.

I hope the powers that be do find away to keep this great water way open and for those of you yet to travel this area you are in for a treat. The towns along the Erie are welcoming and fun to explore, we made sure to buy something from every town whether food or gifts just to show our appreciation.

I look forward to running this section again in a few years.
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