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Re: [carfree_cities] NYTimes.com Article: Coalition Adds New Support for a Harbor Freight Tunnel

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  • Mike Harrington
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2003
      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 ----------------------------------
      From: rickrise@...
      Reply-To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 17:45:54 -0400 (EDT)

      >This article from NYTimes.com
      >has been sent to you by rickrise@....
      >
      >
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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
      >reauthorization.
      >
      >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
      >otherwise have."
      >
      >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
      >Washington Bridge."
      >
      >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.
      >
      >http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/04/nyregion/04TUNN.html?ex=1055763154&ei=1&en=6dfb36a50ba4ceea
      >
      >
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