Re: [carfree_cities] NYTimes.com Article: Coalition Adds New Support for a Harbor Freight Tunnel
- Just a thought, Robet Moses, you remember him, stopped rail from being built on the second level of the George Washington Bridge ca. 1930. I guess New York would have been better off without him.
---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 17:45:54 -0400 (EDT)
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>Coalition Adds New Support for a Harbor Freight Tunnel
>June 4, 2003
>By JANNY SCOTT
>A proposal to reduce truck traffic in New York City and the
>region by building a rail freight tunnel under New York
>Harbor got new support yesterday when a broad group of
>business, labor, environmental and civic leaders announced
>that they had formed a coalition to lobby for federal money
>for the project.
>The coalition, which includes representatives of groups
>ranging from the Sierra Club and the Brooklyn Chamber of
>Commerce to the state A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Rev. Calvin O.
>Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, wants
>Congress to help pay for the project out of a
>transportation spending bill currently up for
>The group, called MoveNY, says the tunnel would divert
>nearly a million truck trips a year from the George
>Washington Bridge, reduce pollution in city neighborhoods
>with high asthma rates, cut traffic delays in the region,
>generate tens of thousands of jobs, save highway
>maintenance costs and limit the risks of terrorism
>presented by unscreened trucks.
>"It's clearly technically feasible to do this tunnel," said
>Francis X. McArdle, managing director of the General
>Contractors Association of New York and a member of the
>coalition. "And we believe that it is an economic advantage
>to this region to make this investment. Not only will it
>help us to continually grow, but it gives us some
>opportunities for economic development that we would not
>Representative Jerrold L. Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, has
>been interested in the project throughout the last 20
>years. Skeptics who considered the idea in its earlier
>incarnations have argued that the reduction in truck
>traffic would be smaller than proponents contend because
>most freight would still move by truck within the city.
>They have also said the city was no longer a competitive
>location for the kind of high-volume, mass-production
>industries that rely heavily on rail.
>"It's a 19th-century project that's two centuries too
>late," said Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Taub Urban
>Research Center at New York University and a co-author of a
>1998 analysis of the tunnel idea. "And this project
>represents a threat to much more important priorities to
>the city and the region."
>The idea of a rail freight connection by tunnel between New
>Jersey and the area across New York Harbor has been tossed
>around since the 1920's, Mr. McArdle and others said. For
>many years, rail freight was transported across the harbor
>by float bridge. But even that ended after the merger of
>the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads in 1968 and
>the subsequent creation of Conrail in 1976.
>Now less than 2 percent of all freight coming in and out of
>the region is transported by rail, compared with 40 percent
>in cities nationally, Mr. Nadler said. The nearest railroad
>crossing over the Hudson is 140 miles north of the city in
>Selkirk, just south of Albany.
>"We've got a real crisis now in goods movement, and it's
>only going to get worse," said Robert D. Yaro, president of
>the Regional Plan Association and a member of the
>coalition. "The volumes of freight moving into and through
>the region are increasing at about 3 percent a year. Over a
>decade, that's by a third. And you think about what
>congestion is like on the George Washington Bridge and the
>Tappan Zee now. There's just no place to put it."
>The 19 coalition members range from labor union leaders
>including Dennis Rivera, president of Local 1199 of the
>Service Employees International Union; and
>environmentalists like James T. B. Tripp, general counsel
>for Environmental Defense, formerly the Environmental
>Defense Fund; to business leaders like Kenneth Adams,
>president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; and civic
>activists like Dr. Rafael A. Lantigua, chairman of the
>board of directors of Alianza Dominicana, the largest
>Dominican social service agency in the city.
>Dr. Lantigua, an internist and professor of clinical
>medicine at Columbia University, said he joined the
>coalition because he has lived in Washington Heights his
>entire life and works there. He has "no doubt that the
>amount of bronchial asthma that we see in this area is
>linked to the pollution of the traffic across the George
>The tunnel would create a Hudson River crossing connecting
>freight railroads in New Jersey to unused railroads in
>Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mr. Nadler said the most recent
>estimate of the cost of the tunnel alone was $1.8 billion;
>the cost of the entire project, including rail
>improvements, has been put at $7 billion.
>Members of the coalition said they wanted to persuade
>Congress to pay for the design and perhaps the next steps
>of the project out of the Transportation Equity Act for the
>21st Century, a pending bill that is intended to pay for
>major transportation projects for the next six years.
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