Last-Minute NY Budget Maneuver Proposes Major Changes To Erie Canal Management Without Public Input

March 2021 News

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging its 44,000 New York members, boaters who use the canal system for transit to the Great Lakes and Canada, as well as upstate canal community members to have their voices heard and insist legislators immediately remove Governor Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendment TED Bill Part VV, known as the “New York State Canal System Revitalization Act,”

BoatUS offers an easy online option for NY state registered boat owners to send messages opposing the bill to their legislators, as well as an option for those outside of NY to post on Twitter.

“We believe the act’s last-minute introduction during the end of the budget process is an indication of the administration’s strategy to minimize debate and control outcomes,” said BoatUS Vice President of Public Affairs Scott Croft. “To discuss change of this magnitude, we ask Governor Cuomo to engage in an open, transparent process to ensure the future of this historic waterway, not only for recreational boaters in New York and beyond, but for the communities along its length.”

BoatUS notes that the proposed act essentially details the canal as a failure, calling it “antiquated and deteriorating” as a result of the lack of commercial shipping activity, while at the same time acknowledging that, “the state has not exploited the full potential of the canal system.” The act would forever change the operating structure that would leave management of the canal system even less transparent than it currently is, remove state accountability, and forever hinder the economic viability of the canal with weak funding sources.

“Boaters and the public want to have a say in the canal’s future, and this latest effort does the opposite,” added Croft. “When you combine this with past state actions, such as most recently proposing, and then backing off, plans for the shortest operational season on record, it’s clear boaters and canal communities have an important voice to offer.”

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