News in AP and Trib on aging river infrastructure here in Pittsburgh. This is really a big story, bigger than the coverage it gets. They mention some numbers for the amount of rail or truck transport it would take to move just some of the coal or coke that currently goes via barge. The thing is, talk to folks who work in the rail industry and there just isn't capacity to dump that much new demand into the system. The US rail system in general, but especially through some of the chokepoints near here, is arguably past what is sustainable as it is. As for trucks which may be the most costly option of the three becasue of fuel prices? So see the first paragraph above.
Speaking of prognostications. News is that the Port Authority has a new web site to inform the public on the status of labor negotiations. It has a 'rumor of the day' section which could be fun. The first 'rumor' was that service would stop when the current contracts end on July 1st. Funny thing is I heard nobody talking about such a rumor so it's unclear the purpose of that. and read the story for the timing: the site went up Wednesday the 2nd and the first rumor it quashed was already in the past? Curious.
But no joking. I will put good money that there will be a strike at the Port Authority. All the talk I hear leads me to believe that the powers that be actually want there to be a strike. I will not be surprised if there is a plan in place early on to use substitute workers in the event of a strike in order to break the union which is really the goal.
How will it all turn out is beyond anything I can predict. If the strike is limited to just the port authority drivers then they may be in for tough going and the plan may work. If there is any sympathy labor actions in the region then I dunno how it will turn out. It may be the biggest test for organized labor in the region in decades. Think of it as a local version of the PATCO air traffic controllers strike in 1981, something that had a major impact on labor-management relations for decades.
In the end I hope all parties realize that the true cost benefit analysis of transit service is not all measured in the Port Authority's budget anywhere.