Monday, March 30, 2009

New push for New York freight tunnel

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Veteran New York City Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler (pictured), a longtime advocate of a freight tunnel under New York Harbor, will be joined by a newly minted Democratic Congressman from Connecticut, Jim Hines, in a push to include funding for the tunnel in a new five-year Surface Transportation Infrastructure Reauthorization Act. The current Act expires in September.

nadler2.jpgThey argue that a freight tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York would shift millions of tons of freight from truck to rail and relieve congestion throughout the area. Trucks now handle about 95% of all freight moving between the two states.

"There is basically 50 years of catching up to investment in rail freight in the whole area that needs to be done over a period of time," says Nadler. "Clearly, in terms of congestion on I-95, it would be very important to Connecticut, but it won't help much if someone in Connecticut doesn't look at what the options for a rail freight terminal up there are."

"It is a very high priority for me," says Hines. "The people in Fairfield County pay too high a psychological and economic burden from congestion in the state."

According to the Stamford Advocate, a 2004 environmental study found the underwater route could eliminate up to 1 million vehicle trips from New York City's roads a year, and similar numbers in Connecticut and Long Island, N.Y.