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Today's Poll: What should be done with the Erie Canal?

Kyle Couchman
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Joined: Dec 25 2009

Don't know why the most popular choice at the moment is fill it in, but I'm pretty confident that will never happen. The permits sold to use the canal are a significant source of money for the state. Also there are so many marinas and marine businesses that service the recreational boaters. Recreational boaters transport their boats thru this canal to either NYC to get to the ocean or Lake Erie to access the rest of the Great Lakes.Then there's the fishing resource that it is. I grew up a stones throw from the canal right between Brockport and Spencerport right next to Salmon Creek Country Club.

Then there is the historical value of it. It is not only NYS history but it's one of the reasons that this country is what it is today because of this commerce channel. Every city between Buffalo and Albany probably would just be villages and towns if it weren't for the Erie Canal.

Dave Olsen
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Privatize it. Anything and everything that can be privatized should be.

C. M. Barons
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Joined: Jul 29 2008

Kyle's assessment is on the mark. Communities on the canal reap a bounty in revenue through businesses and services banking on canal users and tourism. Abandoning the Erie Canal would amount to a huge economic failure for Canal-towns. The canal is a state landmark and financing its operations and upkeep will draw funds from both fans and detractors. Is it a frivolous expense? The canal generated $209 million in revenue in 2007, attracting millions of visitors to canal-associated events and festivals. The cost of operating and maintaining the canal ranges from $80 - 90 million.

There seems to be agreement that the Thruway Authority does a better job of running the canal than DOT.

The value of the canal can be demonstrated. The debate turns on who should oversee it and who should pay for it. Although it may seem reasonable to designate the canal, a park and fund it through the park system- what experience does the park system have with the engineering requirements necessary to maintain and operate a canal? Wasn't it just three years ago that the state nearly closed down its parks due to lack of funding?

The more appropriate question, how can we increase the use and appreciation of a profitable state asset?

Dave Olsen
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"The more appropriate question, how can we increase the use and appreciation of a profitable state asset?"

Ummmm, by privatizing it and the parks. The state is not capable of having the foresight to manage these things efficiently. I love our parks and the canal. I love what they are doing in Buffalo at Canalside, was there on Saturday and had a great time, very enjoyable. The canal (and all the parks) can be run efficiently, sustainable and affordable for all of us. But not by New York State

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