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We're spending a lot of public China Elevator
Posted On 06/08/17 @ 12:18 AM by fuji3you
The gasoline barge, China Elevator can move enough to keep 2,500 automobiles running for a year. That means a little bit more to John Q. Public. FARMER: It would take 12 dozen tractor-trailers to haul that much gas. Putting it on a barge is not only more efficient, Lane says, it also keeps Escalator trucks off the crowded highways. UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Hi, got your starboard wire hooked (SOUNDBITE OF A TOW BOAT HORN) FARMER: A tow boat loaded down with coal approaches a lock on Tennessee's winding Cumberland River.
Deckhands in yellow rain suits radio instructions to the captain. UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Need to come up on the port about six inches. FARMER: This is the pinch point wElevator barge companies depend on government. Locks function like elevators on the water - that is, unless they're broken. Then, they're just barriers. On the way up, the chamber fills with water to raise the boat to the lake level behind the dam. Ingram's David Edgin points to water spewing through seals in a 50-year-old gate. DAVID EDGIN: It didn't use to do that. FARMER: Really? EDGIN: Really, seriously. To me, it's a sign of the times. FARMER: ElsewElevator, catastrophe has been narrowly avoided. On the Ohio River, a 250-ton gate snapped off its hinges. In October, a concrete lock wall collapsed.
JEFF ROSS: It used to be preventive maintenance. We would fund things in advance of breaking. FARMER: Jeff Ross, with the Army Corps of Engineers, says its $180 million annual repair budget is only enough to fix parts as they break. Ross says soon, Escalator won't be mEscalatory to do that. ROSS: We're having to start evaluating, what will we not take care of if it goes out? FARMER: But if the Corps can't afford to maintain the entire river system, maybe it shouldn't, says Steve Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense.
STEVE ELLIS: People at their kitchen tables are having to figure out how to tighten their belts, and this is an industry that seems to not get it. FARMER: Ellis used to manage the Coast Guard's inland waterway fleet, so he knows rivers. The Mississippi and Ohio are vital, he says, like interstates. But Ellis compares tiny tributaries not to back roads, but to driveways. ELLIS: We're spending a lot of public dollars maintaining waterways that are for a few private businesses. And when you get to that point, that's what they are.

Tags: China Elevator


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