Remember some years back when one of the big fears was that terrorists would take out one or several of the critical rail or road bridges that cross the Mississippi River?
While attacks against [famous] landmarks would cause massive traffic problems–and give terrorists a major psychological victory–some of the most lucrative bridge targets are located in the nation’s heartland, at rail crossings over the Mississippi River. Forty percent of the nation’s freight rides the rails, and much of it crosses the Mississippi at one point or another.
Since the mid-1800s, scores of rail bridges have been built across the river, but today, the majority of freight trains pass at seven major crossings: Little Falls, Minnesota; LaCrosse, Wisconsin; Clinton, Fort Madison, and Burlington, Iowa; Thebes, Illinois, and Memphis, Tennessee. Collectively, at least 680 million gross tons of freight cross these bridges each year.
Yet while we were worrying about the terrorists, Fat Al Gore struck at the single highway that carries 500 million tons of trade under those bridges every year. For the last 9 days, Fat Al Gore has been closing an 11-mile stretch of the Midwest’s most important highway, the Mississippi, holding up 97 vessels.
As the CNBC report calculates, here’s the trade that Fat Al Gore is holding up.
This really is the giant super highway of the American Midwest. $180 billion of goods up and down this river. 60% of US grain is shipped on this river. 22% of oil and gas. 20% of coal.
And this post describes more of the costs, including presenting problems for the drinking water
Maybe it’s time we started devoting some of the billions we spend on counterterrorism and start trying to do something about Fat Al Gore?