Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on The Barge Canal


In this, its first report, the committee makes no recommendations with reference to the transfer of the canal system and draws no conclusions pertaining to its eventual uses or disposition.

Because we recognize the complexity of the transfer question and the far-reaching implications of any action the legislature may finally take with reference to it, we have deemed it obligatory in this report to present a brief history of the canal, to describe its present uses, and to summarize the body of opinion which favors or opposes the transfer proposal. We believe this report will serve to condense and bring into sharp focus the involved and divergent issues to be considered in our study.

We trust it will also provide an outline within which we can work in our efforts to analyze and evaluate the overall results which would spring from the transfer or retention of the canal. Moreover, in continuing our examination of the entire problem as basically outlined in this report, we will be in a position to inquire, within the framework of our mandate, into parallel issues which may well involve continued jurisdiction and operation of the canal by the State of New York on either an expanded, limited or standby basis.

As we conceive it, our future work should include: (1) a series of public hearings at which we can obtain the views and suggestions of all interested individuals, groups, industries and the public generally; (2) a detailed analysis of the industrial, agricultural, navigational, budgetary and other aspects of the subject that are pertinent to our study ; (3) a sound engineering review of the existing canal system, including present and prospective water sources and supply facilities; and (4) a determination of the effect the transfer or other change in the control, operation or maintenance of the canal would have on the future economy of the state.

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