WHERE'S THE PORK BARREL?
Experts in the media and in the government who bother with the matter at all, like to characterize the domestic waterways industry as the "pork barrel industry." It must be great fun for journalists and other critics to glibly caricature a greedy parochial politician with his face stuck in the public trough, lapping up "pork barrel" water project goodies for the voters back home. It must also be great fun for critics to take shots at any given lock and dam project as a monumental and unnecessary boondoggle, promoted by Congressmen who snicker, wink, and elbow each other at election time over the waterways "pork" they have appropriated for their constitutents..
On the editorial pages of a wellknown New York newspaper recently, the pundits portrayed the Congressional debate over last year's omnibus water resources bill as a "pig dinner." The editorial stated that "the squealing was unbearable," as members of Congress danced through the aisles shouting, "You get yours, and I get mine, we've all joined hands to feed the swine . . . ".
To put it politely, it is an understatement to say that such indulgent cartoon characterizations are frustrating to us in the waterways industry, as well as to many in our government who understand the industry and support it.-And our frustration is compounded because the facts, the cold hard statistical data on the importance of the waterways to the nation that truly profiles our industry, are in direct refutation to the "pork barrel" image.
And hardly anyone knows it.
Far from being "pork barrel," our industry, before the introduction of damaging government policies a few years ago, was an even more effective, productive and vital national resource than it is today. It provided an even greater wealth of benefits to the consumer and to the nation— not the least of which was the steady employment of thousands of Americans and the resultant millions of additional tax dollars for the U.S.
Treasury—and it was one of the fundamental reasons for the economic stability of the 87 percent of major U.S. cities with which we do business. No other industry has provided more . . . for less. We would all benefit—from the highest industry executive to the shipyard worker, from the elected representative to the American consumer—if this truth were known. The "pork barrel" image is a lie.
Here are the facts.
Consider that the inland and coastal barge and towing industry operates on 26,000 miles of navigable waterways, a network of rivers, canals and waterways long enough to circle the earth. In addition we carry 13 percent of the nation's freight for just 2 percent of the national transportation cost, and we do it with the best safety record of any transportation industry. In a typical year, there will be 125,000 barge movements to and from over 200 U.S. inland and coastal ports.
Consider also that the barge and towing industry saves the American consumer money on the cost of their food, gasoline, electricity and building materials, because barges require less energy per ton to transport goods than any other means.
On the Lower Mississippi, one towboat can push 40 barges that have the carrying capacity of 600 rail cars or more than 2,200 trucks. Where's the pork barrel?
Consider that our industry forces the railroads, by their own admission, to charge about $1 billion less per year in freight rates because of the healthy competition we provide.
Such competition has a direct effect on what every American consumer pays for some of the most basic commodities needed to sustain life.
Consider the millions of tons of raw materials like grain and other agricultural products, petroleum, limestone, lumber and coal that travel on the inland and coastal waterways of the nation. The price of everyday commodities like cereal and electricity are directly affected by the cost of transporting them— and it is the barge industry's efficiency that holds down the price for the American people.
Our waterways are also a matchless source of recreation for fishing, pleasure boating, and sightseeing— and millions of acres along the waterways are designated wildlife refuges.
It is also little understood that we play a vital role in national defense, currently supplying the remot, e Distant Early Warning radar site'in Alaska and defense installations throughout our land.
Barges haul about one-half of all United States export grain, and the low cost and high efficiency of water transportation keeps oil and coal producers, farmers and other shippers competitive in the world market— expanding our overseas trade and improving the U.S. balance of payments. Finally, it is significant to note that over 100,000 direct jobs for our citizens derive from the waterways industry. Indirect employment is in the millions.
If it is pork, then it's "Grade A" bacon—cured for the benefit of every American.
Yet, despite these contributions to the nation, and much more, we in the inland and coastal barge and towing industry continue to find ourselves in the curious and frustrating position of having to suffer the negative political reputation of being the "pork barrel" industry.
No one benefits from this name calling except the pundits and other critics who delight in its use. Every American has a direct, compelling and personal stake in the success or failure of this vital national industry.
So the next time you hea an expert rattling around in an empty "pork barrel," give him, or her, the word. The next time you read a newspaper account, or hear a radio or television reporter blabbing about the "pork barrel" waterways industry, get involved. Write them a letter. Call them up. Educate them with the facts. Complain.
By all means let your Congressmen and Senators know how you feel. They too have an important stake in this. When a politician who likes to dramatically throw the term "pork barrel" around begins to hear the murmuring voices of constituent complaint, the rumbling harmony of grievance, and the full symphonic roar of voter discontent, he'll listen.
He has to.
Give him the facts.
Other stories from May 1985 issue
- Slaybaugh Named Vice President And COO For Bombardier/Alco Power page: 5
- MARDATA Adds Baltic Index To Its Maritime Database Service page: 5
- Scheidt Named Marketing And Sales Vice President For American Steamship page: 5
- Radio-Holland USA, B.V. Automates Coastal Station WLO's Radiotelex Service page: 5
- Self-Propelled Drillship for India Completed By Hitachi's Osaka Works page: 6
- Terry Announces New GLT Single-Stage Turbine page: 6
- V e r s a t i l e Corporation Buys Davie Shipbuilding Yard From Dome Petroleum page: 7
- N e w l y Formed Company Acquires Compressor Line From Allis-Chalmers page: 7
- Bath Iron Works Receives $321-Million DDG 51 Contract page: 8
- NEW GHH-Constructed Drydock, Mission Bay, For Continental Maritime page: 8
- Free Brochure From Baldt Details Moor-Free™ Rapid Release System page: 8
- O'Sullivan Appointed President Of Fairbanks Morse Engine Division page: 9
- Annual CIMARE Meeting Scheduled For May 8-10 At Hyatt Hotel In Montreal page: 9
- Raytheon Establishes New Ventures Unit— Steadman Named President page: 10
- Brochure on Tensar® Geogrids Offered By Armco Construction Products page: 10
- Korobov Elected Vice President-Finance For COMSAT TeleSystems— Mutnick Named Controller page: 10
- Tano Receives Additional Coast Guard Contract Valued At $2.7 Million page: 10
- Daewoo Wins $16.5-Million Contract To Build Offshore Vessel For India page: 10
- Exclusive Rep For Danish Firm Introduces Radiotelephone System page: 10
- Mitsui Delivers Big Ore Carrier With M a n y Energy-Saving Features page: 11
- Weerts Named Senior Program Manager For American Systems page: 11
- ABS Developing New Computer Programs To Aid Ship Designers page: 11
- SNAME SPRING MEETING/ STAR SYMPOSIUM page: 12
- Smith Appointed Senior Vice President For American Steamship page: 14
- Bohme Named Product Development Manager For Simpson Timber page: 14
- Joseph Joins COMSAT As Executive Vice President page: 14
- Patti Shipyard Moves To N ew Site On Bayou Chico In Pensacola page: 15
- Illman Jones Has N e w Location And Name To Meet Growth page: 16
- Pugh A p p o i n t e d Vice President O f M a r k e t i ng For L u b r i q u i p - H o u d a i l le page: 16
- Lundberg Reappointed Director General Of INMARSAT page: 16
- Literature Available On Clemco Industries' 'Educt-O-Matic' page: 16
- Hubbard Named To Newly Created Position At American President Lines page: 16
- SNAME Introduces New Quarterly— The Journal Of Ship Production page: 16
- Cambridge Instruments Completes New Plant page: 16
- Marathon's Brownsville Yard Launches Jackup Rig For Penrod Drilling page: 17
- Big Car Carrier Delivered By Hitachi Zosen's Hiroshima Yard page: 17
- Fairbanks Morse Opens New Parts Distribution Center In Indianapolis page: 18
- Navigation & Communications Equipment — A R e v i e w— page: 18
- Southwest Marine Yard Completes Renovation Of Rowan Jackup Rig page: 19
- PIMA Agent For Three Repair Groups page: 20
- Sonat Marine Acquires Tug And Barge Unit For Petroleum Transportation page: 21
- Free Literature Available On ZF Marine Gearboxes page: 21
- WORLDWIDE SHIP REPAIR page: 22
- Gunderson Purchases FMC's Marine And Rail Equipment Division page: 31
- Bridge Named President And CEO For Volvo Penta Of America page: 31
- Elliott White Gill Thrusters Offer Unique Advantages page: 32
- Tompkins To Market BFGoodrich Bearings In Four Eastern States page: 33
- WHERE'S THE PORK BARREL? page: 34
- Los Angeles SNAME And ASNE Sections Meet In Joint Session page: 34
- Literature Available On FIRE-PREP® 2012 From Nalco Chemical page: 34
- Skantek Announces SK-401, An OCR Software Technology Breakthrough page: 34
- John Crane Offers Literature On Their Line Of Bellows Seals page: 34
- Marine coatings & corrosion control page: 36
- Flakt Offers 20-Page Brochure On Facilities And Capabilities page: 36
- Clemco Pipe Cleaning Tools Blast-Clean Pipe Interior Without Rotating The Pipe page: 39
- Hitachi Delivers Jackup Rig Built For O N G C Of India page: 39
- PRC Announces Availability Of New Family Of Mercaptan Functional Polymers page: 40
- New Boiler Cleaning Technique Offers Savings For Vessel Owners page: 45
- Gulfport Orders Second Paceco Container Crane page: 45
- Brochure Available On HF-SSB Radio Products From Harris Corporation page: 45
- Halter Marine Awarded $85-Million Navy Contract To Build Six T-AGOS Ships page: 46
- Bailey Joins Selkirk Metalbestos As Staff Engineer For Piping Line page: 46
- Zito Named Vice President- Marketing & Development Of COMSAT Technology page: 46
- No Claims Yet On Cat's Over-The-Counter Parts Availability Guarantee page: 46
- Racal Wins $2.8-Million For Marine Simulators page: 46
- McTighe Offers Brochure On High-Flow & Low-Flow Oil/Water Separators page: 46
- OSG And P&O Agree To Form Joint Venture For LPG Transportation page: 49
- New Products From Dahl Help Solve Diesel Fuel Problems In Cold Weather page: 49
- Ingalls Yard Christens First Ship With Vertical Missile Launchers page: 50
- Young Appointed Marine Operations Vice Presient For American President page: 50
- New York S N A M E Meeting Hears Paper On Preventive Maintenance page: 50
- Furness Withy Offers Folder On Group's Structure And Services page: 54
- 32-Page Bulletin From Falk Details Their Crowned Tooth Gear Couplings page: 54
- 1985 Product Catalog Available From Furuno page: 54
- Pumps & Power Ltd. Of Vancouver Signed To Represent Omnithruster page: 54
- Odense-Built Containership Sea Wolf Equipped With Bromma Telescopic Spreaders page: 59
- Ward Leonard Offers Catalog Listing Quality Controls For Defense-Maritime Applications page: 59
- Hyundai Delivers First Of Three Bulk Carriers For Norwegian Owner page: 60
- Los Angeles S N A M E Meeting Discusses Shipboard Fiber Optics page: 60
- Blount Marine Yard Delivers Dinner Cruise Vessel 'Bay Queen' page: 60