[Vision2020] Barging is not cheaper

Ron Force ronforce at gmail.com
Sun Jun 27 14:32:57 PDT 2021

>From the June 27,2021 Lewiston Morning Tribune, Letters to the Editor

*Barging is not cheaper*

Because issues surrounding the four lower Snake River dams are so
polarizing, I have kept my opinions to myself. ...

But Elaine Williams’ June 17 Lewiston Tribune article prompted this letter.

Barging is not “significantly less expensive than hauling grain with trucks
or trains” as Williams stated. In the most basic economic terms— barging is
not the cheapest way to transport wheat, but it is by far the most heavily
subsidized. ...

Congress continues to ... cover nearly all costs for operation,
maintenance, repairs and dredging needed to maintain navigation locks and
shipping channels. Freight rail companies, on the other hand, operate
without subsidies . ...

Farmers pay about 30 percent more to ship wheat by rail (Tribune, April 4),
and pay at least 50 percent more to ship by truck, but only pay about 10
percent of what it actually costs to ship by barge.


You and I pay the other 90 percent through federal subsidies. While farmers
in the Pullman area, for example, pay less to barge wheat from the Snake
River — it costs us nearly six times as much than if it were shipped by
rail and about the same as if shipped by truck. ...

What happens to an economy dependent on one or two private businesses (i.e.
Tidewater and Shaver, which barge nearly all grain on the Snake River),
whose sizable profits and future depend entirely on an ever-increasing
amount of taxpayer funding? Why don’t we also subsidize rail to at least be
competitive? ...

Aaron Collins


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Ron Force
Moscow Idaho USA
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