High fuel prices have spurred an increase in shipments on the Erie Canal as barges become a more affordable way to move goods.
NY Times: After decades of decline, commercial shipping has returned to the Erie Canal, though it is a far cry from the canal’s heyday. The number of shipments rose to 42 so far this year during the season the canal is open, from 15 during last year’s season, which lasts from May 1 to Nov. 15.
Once nearly forgotten, the relic of history has shown signs of life as higher fuel prices have made barges an attractive alternative to trucks…
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, Ms. Mantello said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.
As the price of diesel climbed over $4 a gallon this summer — the national average is now about $3.31 a gallon — more shippers rediscovered the Erie Canal.
But freight isn’t the only thing to eschew trucks for a more eco-friendly method of transportation. Train reservations are also on the rise.
NY Times: The high cost of fuel, along with traffic and airport congestion, is drawing travellers back to trains for commuting and for travel between cities as much as 500 miles apart…
Amtrak, which struggled for years to attract riders, drew a record 28.7 million in the year ended Sept. 30. That is 11 per cent more than the year before and the sixth straight year that ridership has increased. Ticket revenue hit a record $1.7 billion, a $200 million increase from a year earlier…
Congress recently passed legislation setting a goal of providing Amtrak $13 billion over five years, a major vote of confidence. The measure also encourages the development of high-speed rail corridors and contains $2 billion in grants to states to enhance or introduce service between cities. The money still must be appropriated.
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