web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel: Real Solutions vs. Doomsday Scenarios


A recent Jewish Press column by Councilman Simcha Felder offered a bunch of doomsday predictions about the impact on Brooklyn and Queens of the proposed Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel. In conjuring up an imaginary crisis, the councilman opposes a necessary solution to real problems.

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.

No Responses to “Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel: Real Solutions vs. Doomsday Scenarios”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reviews details of a "bad deal" with Iran.
Netanyahu Warns of Increased Iran Aggression in Middle East
Latest Indepth Stories
Temple Israel Of Boston

“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism & Zionists”

US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

ISIS terrorist carries the group's black flag.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.

For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot

More Articles from Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Rep. Jerrold Nadler

While I was tempted to support grants that might provide some relief to a number of shuls, I was not willing to trade that potential short-term benefit for the likelihood of real long-term harm to religious freedom protections.

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.

Despite all of the evidence against them Saudi leaders have the nerve to tell us that they are making efforts to stop terrorist funding.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/cross-harbor-rail-freight-tunnel-real-solutions-vs-doomsday-scenarios/2005/02/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: