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1AC – Inherency
Contention 1 is Inherency
1. Adoption of a “fix when fail” policy ensures delays and collapse of inland waterways
Len Boselovic, award winner for business and investigative reporting, 3/18/2012, Pittsburgh Post (“THE NATION'S LOCKS AND DAMS, INCLUDING 23 IN REGION, ARE ON THE BRINK OF FAILURE, ACCORDING TO U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS”)
Faced with flat funding, the Corps has adopted a "fix when fail" approach to maintaining locks and dams. Take what happened at the Montgomery Dam on the Ohio River near Shippingport in 2006. A week after the Corps concluded that the dam had structural problems, a runaway barge hit it, damaging two of 10 100-foot-wide steel gates used to control the flow of water.¶ "Since that time, we've only had enough funds to put Band-Aids on the gates," said the Corps' Mr. Fisher. "We are at the border of 'fix when fail' and 'failing to fix.' "¶ With preventive maintenance crimped, barge operators face more frequent and longer delays as locks break down. On the Ohio River, the number of hours lost annually because of outages has tripled since 2000 to 80,000 hours, members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure were told last fall.¶ "I have never seen the disruptions to traffic we have now," said Martin T. Hettel, the American Electric Power manager responsible for moving coal on AEP barges to the Columbus, Ohio, utility's power plants. The delays occur even though the Corps spends millions each year to keep outdated facilities functioning.¶ "That's just throwing money down a rat hole," said William Harder, a former navigation manager in the Corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River division who retired last year.¶ Dams are used to generate hydroelectric power and prevent flooding. They are also used to hold back water, creating a pool deep enough for barges to move up and down the river. Because the water level rises and falls at different points along rivers, locks are used to raise and lower barges depending on the depth of the river where they are coming from and the depth of the river where they are headed.
2. And, there’s no impact to minor delays, but age and poor maintenance makes mass lock failure inevitable
Boselovic 2012 (Len Boselovic, Journalist for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/9/2012 “Locked and Dammed: Neglect erodes river commerce,” http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/environment/locked-and-dammed-neglect-erodes-river-commerce-617136/)hhs-ps
Mr. Dinkel said short-term outages could be managed "through some creative engineering and logistical arrangements." But if a dam would be out of commission for a period of several years, "That would be very troubling to us," he said. "It would put us in a bind for a protracted period of time." The likelihood of a lock or dam being knocked out of commission for several months or longer has increased in recent years, as aging facilities along the nation's waterways have become harder to keep running and more expensive to care for. Efforts to build new locks and dams have been plagued by cost overruns measured in hundreds of millions of dollars and construction delays measured in decades. And statistics indicate the Corps is losing the fight to keep the old structures working. Unscheduled lock closures nationwide have spiked in recent years, particularly in Pittsburgh. Western Pennsylvania has some of the oldest locks and dams on the 11,000-mile inland waterway that the Corps maintains. Moderate- and high-use locks in the Pittsburgh district were out of operation 2,255 hours in the fiscal year that ended in September, according to the Corps. That compares to 879 hours in fiscal 2010 and 1,441 hours in fiscal 2009. More than 70 percent of the down time last year involved unscheduled closures, where unexpected mechanical, structural or hydraulic problems disrupted river traffic. "Failures have been occurring and will continue to occur at an accelerated rate," said William Harder, a former navigation manager in the Corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River division who retired last year. Mr. Harder estimates it would take at least three years to replace a broken lock on the Monongahela and a minimum of six years to replace a dam. If such drastic measures were required, the impact of a prolonged river outage might come as a surprise to consumers, who would pay the costs related to the outage.
3. That completely halts inland river commerce
Alexander 12 (TIM ALEXANDER, Illinois Correspondent for FarmWorld, “STC calls on Congress for reliable waterways funding,” 4/25/2012 http://www.farmworldonline.com/news/NewsArticle.asp?newsid=14505)hhs-ps
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Transportation, including the nation’s inland waterways system, “is not just a contributing factor to the economic competitiveness of agriculture, in general; and (for) the soybean industry, in particular, it is a predominant one,” according to Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC). The STC counts 11 state soybean associations as members, along with the American Soybean Assoc. and the United Soybean Board. Steenhoek made his comments at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, during an April 18 hearing. The hearing was on the importance of preserving the reliability of the nation’s inland waterways system. “Our overall dilapidated lock and dam system – exhibited by unscheduled maintenance, mechanical breakdowns and a threat of failure – sends a terrible signal to those who utilize the system,” Steenhoek told the subcommittee. “How can we expect grain handlers and other freight interests to invest millions of dollars on new or upgraded facilities, when we cannot provide certainty that their shipments will be delivered to customers in an efficient manner?” Gibbs acknowledged the inland waterways system provides a cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative to truck and rail transportation, a key factor in economic growth. “As fuel prices continue to escalate, waterway transportation becomes an even more viable alternative for shippers. But, an unreliable transportation system will inject uncertainty into decisions made by U.S. farmers and manufacturers, making U.S. products uncompetitive in world markets,” Gibbs stated. “Letting the inland waterways system decline further would be an economic disaster to add to the nation’s already significant fiscal problems. Having an inland waterways system that is a viable alternative will keep costs down among all modes of transport.” Steenhoek informed the subcommittee that as Brazil continues to invest in its transportation infrastructure while the United States remains “anemic” in developing its system, our competitive advantage over Brazil continues to erode. “It can be accurately stated that the U.S. is more a spending nation, not an investing nation,” he testified. “A high percentage of taxpayer dollars are used to meet immediate wants and needs, rather than providing dividends to future generations.” He was alluding, in part, to the current expansion of the Panama Canal and how it will represent a “missed opportunity” for U.S. expansion of maritime commerce if we do not make the necessary investments into inland waterways. Steenhoek urged legislators to more carefully allocate funds for lock and dam improvements, adding, “A predictably good inland waterway system is better than a hypothetically great one. “It is discouraging to observe how many other countries are able to construct their major infrastructure projects much more efficiently than we can,” said Steenhoek. “The Panama Canal expansion project is a great example. This $5.25 billion project commenced in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015. “The expansion project is more imposing and complex than any project we have under way or planned in our inland waterway system, though all indications are that the project will be completed within budget and only a handful of months behind schedule. “Compare this to our Olmsted Lock and Dam project that had an original cost estimate of $775 million, and has recently been updated to over $3 billion with a significant time horizon remaining before it will be completed,” he said. “When examining the various reasons for our repeated cost overruns and project delays, it quickly becomes evident that a major contributing factor is the piecemeal and unpredictable manner in which we finance these projects.” Also testifying at the hearing was Major Gen. John Peabody of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi River Valley Division, who issued a dire warning to lawmakers about the possible consequences of delaying crucial infrastructure work on the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers, among other waterways. “Catastrophic failure of a lock or dam at a high-volume point along one of the major waterways would have significant economic consequences, because other transportation modes generally lack the capacity to either quickly or fully accommodate the large volume of cargo moved on the inland waterways,” Peabody said. “Therefore, cost and congestion of other modes – mostly rail – could be greatly affected and some cargoes may be delayed for extended periods. For example, the Corps extended a planned 18-day closure at Greenup locks in 2006 when extensive deterioration of the miter gates was discovered. This lengthy, unplanned delay cost shippers over $40 million and several utilities came within days of having to shut down due to exhausted supplies of coal.” Gibbs agreed, noting that one 15-barge tow on a river can carry as much cargo as 216 railcars or 1,050 large trucks. He also stated concern about employment. “If you take inland waterways out of the mix in terms of transportation options, costs go up and American products become less competitive in the global marketplace,” he said. “And that means lost jobs.”
4. Failure of one lock spills over – brings all river commerce to a standstill
Meira 12 (Kristin Meira, Executive Director @ Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Political Transcript of a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, proquest)
Early in the last decade, our colleagues at the Portland and Walla-Walla Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognized that our aging locks would require strategic repairs to remain operational and reliable. They also recognized that these projects would need to be planned and executed to have the least impact to our regional and national economy.¶ It's important to remember the scale of our navigation infrastructure projects. A catastrophic failure of one of our lock gates would translate to at least a one-year closure of that project. That is how long it takes to design, fabricate, and install a lock gate of that size. We also do not have any smaller, backup locks at our projects. Allowing our locks to degrade to the point of failure simply is not an option. A closure of one of our projects creates a bottleneck for the entire system.