Sunday, September 12, 2010

River Barges

Most of this nation depends on river barges for our economy to function properly. Orion Samuelson brought up some good points this week on Samuel Sez during his Agribusiness Weekly broadcast with Max Armstrong.

Why can't the president use his $50 billion infrastructure/jobs proposal to rebuild the locks and dams on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers?

Consider this:

A 15 barge river tow hauls the freight of 218 rail cars pushed by 6 locomotives.

That is 1050 semi trailers worth of commodity, whether it be fertilizer or fuel we need or grain we market around the world.

Yes we need railcars and semi trucks to move our goods for our needs but some of the only exports other countries need is our grain. We are the breadbasket of the world, right?

The big point is, it is so efficient to move goods over water.

Consider this, too:

That river tow gets 576 MPG per ton.

The railroad gets about 413 MPG per ton.

The semi tractors only get about 155 MPG per ton.

Don't even think about the air freight we use. Is that about one MPG per ton? I don't know the figure but you know it is very inefficient although all of us has used air freight to move goods quickly.

I would like to see those locks and dams and our railroads rebuilt or at least upgraded. We have let this go on too long. I sit in traffic while the one lane traffic moves over a bridge repair. We need that too but we need our infrastructure first and foremost.

I can drive less, can you? Everyone needs to eat and the more stable the food transportation system is the better off we all will be.

This has been neglected for a long time.

It's time to improve our most valuable infrastructure.

We need to rebuild our locks and dams and railroads.


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