Latest update: July 6th, 2014
Thirty thousand 18-wheel tractor-trailers drive through New York City every day, delivering freight to the city and Long Island. Incoming freight – and the trucks delivering it – are expected to increase by 80 percent in the next 20 years. That’s an 80 percent increase in air pollution, congestion, noise, and damage to our streets.
We’ve been warned. Now it’s time for a solution.
Because shipping by rail is cheaper, less polluting, and more reliable than trucking, almost all major American cities receive 40 percent of their goods by rail. But in New York, only 2.8 percent comes in by rail. Why? Because the only place freight trains can cross the Hudson is at a bridge 140 miles north of the city.
To avoid this 280-mile detour, freight trains are unloaded in northern New Jersey, and their contents are trucked into New York. The Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel will enable goods to move by rail directly into New York City. By shifting cargo from truck to rail, the tunnel will remove a staggering one million tractor-trailers annually from city streets.
An additional problem is that, because of height restrictions at various access points, 93 percent of the freight trucks that enter the city use the George Washington Bridge. The diesel engine exhaust from these trucks causes the communities near the bridge to suffer from the highest asthma and infant mortality rates in the country.
And if, because of a structural problem, a terrorist attack, or even the threat of a terrorist attack, the bridge were closed even temporarily, shipping into a region of 12 million people would be crippled. It would be a challenge to prevent starvation. When we face the real possibility of terrorist attacks, we cannot allow ourselves to remain so vulnerable.
The tunnel will introduce a secure redundancy into our freight system, so that we do not remain dependent on one bridge. We need to ensure redundancy like this all across the country in order to reduce our vulnerability to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Because of the Cross Harbor Tunnel’s importance to national security and its environmental and economic benefits, it is important to dispel Councilman Felder’s myths about the project.
Councilman Felder wrote that he can “close my eyes and imagine” the trains causing a disturbance as they move through Brooklyn. This is not a matter of closing our eyes and guessing. This is a carefully planned, carefully engineered project designed with our neighborhoods in mind.
Trains routed through the Cross Harbor Tunnel will move through Brooklyn on the Bay Ridge Rail Line, an existing four-track right-of-way that was built almost 100 years ago. No homes or businesses will be displaced.
Councilman Felder also imagines that taking one million tractor-trailers off our streets won’t improve air quality. He suggests that idling trains might equal the trucks’ exhaust output. That is, quite simply, laughable.
Freight trains are far cleaner than trucks; according to the EPA for every mile, a typical truck emits roughly three times more nitrogen oxides and particulates than a locomotive, and one freight train can typically remove 280 trucks worth of goods from our highways. That arithmetic adds up to much cleaner air, and healthier, more liveable neighborhoods.
What’s more, Councilman Felder ignores the context of this project. A much greater number of trains are going to be using the Bay Ridge Line and coming through Boro Park whether or not the Cross Harbor tunnel is built. The number of trains will increase as “float” activity (barge-transport of rail cars across the Hudson) sharply increases in the near future. It will soon be cheaper for carriers to float portions of the burgeoning freight traffic across the harbor than to compete for dwindling space on increasingly congested regional highways.
About the Author: Jerrold Nadler represents the 10th Congressional District of New York and is ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.
- On This Violent ‘Day of Rage,’ a/k/a Friday, Closure Imposed on PA Villages
on November 27, 2015 9:17 PM
- In Wake of New Intifada Netanyahu Cabinet Reevaluating Letting the Palestinian Authority Collapse
on November 27, 2015 2:00 PM
- Ramming Attack in Beit Ummar near Hebron
on November 27, 2015 12:52 PM
- Israel Discusses Collapse of Palestinian Authority
on November 27, 2015 12:11 PM
- Israel to Open Visible Mission in Abu Dhabi
on November 27, 2015 11:24 AM
- Obama Compares First US Pilgrims with Syrian Refugees
on November 27, 2015 11:19 AM
- Islamic Terror in Europe Turning Israel into West’s Best Friend
on November 27, 2015 10:59 AM
- New ‘Riot Kits’ Help Protect Soldiers and Police from Terrorists
on November 27, 2015 10:20 AM
- Teenage ‘Scissors Terrorist’ Complains ‘I Was Just Defending Myself’ [video]
on November 27, 2015 8:50 AM
- Terrorist Killed after Injuring 2 in Ramming Attack on Dead Sea Highway
on November 27, 2015 7:44 AM
- ‘Breaking the Silence’ Regret Use of their Work Against Israel
on November 26, 2015 10:54 PM
- Canada to Give Priority in Entry to Gay Refugees, Banning Single Straight Men
on November 26, 2015 6:26 PM
- IAEA Chief Warns No Guarantee All of Iran’s Nuclear Material is for Peaceful Activities
on November 26, 2015 6:23 PM
- IAF Policy: No Downing of Russian Aircraft Penetrating Israeli Airspace
on November 26, 2015 5:47 PM
- El Al Delays Flight to Rule Out Terror at Amsterdam Airport
on November 26, 2015 5:05 PM