Author Topic: Running Cost Estimated of the Canal Corporation's Embankment Rehabilitation Program  (Read 16 times)

Doug K

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Many have commented about the cost of fixing the New York State Erie- Barge Canal Embankments. The ECNA has pointed out in many posts that the costs for operating the Canal Corporation have been covered as they transition from the NYS Thruway Authority to the NY Power Authority. Still the question persists about how much money is spent creating the "vegetation free" zone on these Embankment Dams.

The ECNA has heard and put our crack staff of Investigators & Engineers on finding the answer... and we have a fairly accurate guesstimate for those who want to know... drum roll please.

Estimated cost to repair canal embankments, inclusive of all prior work from 2017-2018, including work through 2019: $17.2 Million Dollars

So where did we get the numbers?

That's pretty easy with the NYS Transparency Laws for Public Information. We went to the NY Power Authority (NYPA) website, found ALL of their online documents, and entered two key words... vegetation & embankment. From their we found the annual Trustee Meeting budget reports which list all cost, by item, for that fiscal year. In many cases the money is shared by other aspects of Canal Operation, but many line items are directly for Vegetation Management or the new Embankment Rehabilitation Program.

In any case we have put all of this into one nice package here, but if interested the document links we used can be found below:

This Embankment Rehabilitation work actually started in last 2016 as NYPA was preparing to take over the Canal Corporation. As they worked out the 2017 Canal Budget they had a line item in for hiring Engineering companies to help understand what was needed for improved canal safety.

During the NYPA owned Canal Corp transition was taking place the Canal folks still had control of their budget, so they also put a line item  in for what was being called Vegetation Management

Along came the end of 2017, when actual work was beginning on clearing the large vegetation & stumps... remember Mohawk Valley Materials was awarded a contract. I have shared that contract information here which the ECNA believes was part of the original 2017-2018 planned expenditures for embankment related repairs. You can find this information by following the link.

In all  of these Trustee Meeting notes there are several different "pools" of money being used to support the Canal remodeling that is going on. Some are for Capital Improvements, others are for Embankment & Canal Structure Inspections. Each line item feeds different parts  of the overall Embankment Rehabilitation process... so we took portions of those other Canal Operating Budgets and assigned some dollars to this work.

Here's the most recent NYPA - Canal Corp Budget, for 2019. Note that the Canal now gets money for this embankment work from three sources now; Canal Corporation Operating & Maintenance Budget, the Capital Budget, and the Canal Development Fund.

So if you want to look at numbers... Microsoft Excel has always been the best tool for that. Here's a breakdown by where the money comes from, by year, through the 5 year plan NYPA had for this work starting in 2017.

So why do we say $17,200,000 is the total when our chart says a nice even $18 million?

Simple, we did not include the 2020-21 outside Engineering costs that presumably has not been spent. Of course our numbers can be off a little as the proportions we applied of "shared" funds were equally divided, the Canal Corporation may have heavily weighted those shared funds to embankments which may place us as the "low" overall cost estimate. And folks, as we have shown before in posts regarding Project Cost... all of this Embankment work was funded by the Thruway & NYPA well BEFORE they moved the Canal Corporation to it's new owners.

$17.4 million dollars... that's the running cost to make the Erie Canal SAFE for all of New York State and those who come to visit the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. Seems like a deal compared to the cost of paying for lawsuits, litigation & legal judgement awards in the event of a canal breach & flood or a tree falling on the Trail that might cause loss of life or serious injury. Think about that one...please.

It's never really been about trees... as some want you to believe.

It's ALWAYS been about Safety & Risk Mitigation.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 12:03:09 pm by Doug K »

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