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.
Source: Port Authority DEIS
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).
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