This Friday, January 23, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will be hosting the first of seven public hearings to solicit public feedback on ten alternatives to move freight across the New York Harbor.
The reason for the study is the current system, which is untenable. The lack of existing freight track infrastructure in downstate New York east of the Hudson River means freight must come in on a truck or barge from New Jersey or via trains that are rerouted 140 miles north to Selkirk, NY and then make their way back south toward New York City.
CURRENT PROBLEM: SELKIRK DETOUR
More than 90 percent of freight crossing the Hudson River is moved in trucks. As has been noted time and time again, large commercial trucks are a significant contributor to roadway congestion, poor air and water quality, and the deteriorating conditions of regional infrastructure. There is also a significant social cost, as trucks affect roadway and pedestrian safety and quality of life in residential communities.
There are ways to reduce our region’s overreliance on and the impacts of truck freight while improving the overall system of moving goods into and out of our region. Alternatives to the current system are being studied in the recently released Cross Harbor Freight Program NEPA Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Five of the “rail tunnel alternatives” being studied would create a direct connection across the harbor, allowing freight to move directly from New Jersey to Brooklyn and enabling goods to reach Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties by rail.
SOLUTION: RAIL TUNNEL DIRECT CONNECTION
This would be a significant improvement over the current system. Some of the rail tunnel alternative benefits are:
- reduced truck emissions, which pollute our air and contribute to increased asthma rates,
- project construction jobs,
- port jobs,
- protection of the current and future flow of goods, including the region’s food and clothing supply,
- safer roads, especially for pedestrians, and
- avoidance of costly repairs of roadway damage caused by large trucks (According to one report, road damage caused by a single 18-wheeler is equivalent to that of 9,600 cars).
The public is invited to weigh in on all aspects of the draft study, including the alternatives the Port Authority will be studying further. Make your voice heard in support of the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel alternatives, which would be a quadruple win to reduce the economic, environmental, transportation, and societal costs of our truck dependent freight system.
Meeting locations, dates and times are as follows [NOTE: Updated to reflect new dates]:
- Friday, January 23, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Baruch College / CUNY, William and Anita Newman Conference Center, 151 East 25th Street, H750 & Faculty Lounge, New York, NY 10010
- Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Thursday, February 5, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Bronx Borough Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
- Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (rescheduled from January 28)
Suffolk County Legislature, W.H. Rogers Legislature Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787
- Thursday, February 26, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (rescheduled from February 10)
North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, One Newark Center, 17th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
- Tuesday, February 26, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (rescheduled from February 10)
Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, 140 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
- Thursday, March 3, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (rescheduled from January 29)
Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Room 23, Kew Gardens, NY 11415