Monday, April 16, 2012

SPC Mulls Freight (and Waterways) Role in Region

The Southwestern Plan Commission plans the region's transportation future. As a Metropolitan Planning Organization, MPOs are set up to be responsive to local voters. Like MPOs across the nation, they have long heard the refrain "freight don't vote". Our local SPC took steps last week to dispel any lack of interest with its first "Regional Freight Forum".

I had the opportunity, along with the Corps of Engineers and Marshall University, to explain that while freight may not vote, it goes a long way to pay the bills, especially for the 45,000 persons in southwestern PA whose jobs are directly dependent upon the waterways. We also got to discuss the dire condition of our locks and dams and, if nothing is done to correct the situation, how severe the economic impacts for our region could become.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says "Build a road (in our case a waterway), and prosperity will travel on it". Too bad that's a maxim too oft forgot.

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