River barge plan may make sense

The Lakeshore agri-business community hopes river barges do more than just traverse rivers if their plan gets a green light.
Jul 18, 2014

A group has proposed allowing certain routes along the east coast of Lake Michigan to be open to river barge traffic, albeit if certain requirements are met.

Proponents of the plan say it would lead to a more economical way of shipping dry goods across the Great Lakes region.

If the U.S. Coast Guard is able to determine a safe route exists, and if safeguards can be put into place to prevent environmental mishaps, this is a great plan.

Anything we can do to lower the cost of doing business — and easing the shipment of our Pure Michigan goods and services to other parts of the country — seems like a no-brainer. Especially when we are doing all we can to boost our economy.

It also seems like such a plan should work, since a river barge route already exists on Lake Michigan’s west side between the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.

With funding getting more stringent for dredging dollars, and deep-water ports becoming at risk of losing funding for dredging, having another option for allowing shipping to proceed is a critical step.

Let’s hope that everything checks out with this plan and Lake Michigan is able to accommodate some new travelers.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty, Fred VandenBrand and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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