Barges of scrap metal, coal and petroleum products predictably lumber along the Allegheny River.
Towns, water companies and industries draw 524 million gallons daily from that river.
And in the summer, several thousand pleasure boats and personal watercraft zip through its waters, with some passing through its locks to the more rural and wooded pools in the upper reaches of the Allegheny in Armstrong County.
All benefit from the river, but only the commercial barge traffic has paid directly -- via a marine diesel fuel tax -- for upkeep of the Allegheny's locks and dams, which were installed in the 1920s and 1930s to turn erratic pockets of deep and shallow water into reliable pools of slack water.
Therein lies one of the problems with paying for the $8 million annual price tag just to operate the locks on the Allegheny.Read More