Thursday, June 01, 2017

Plan by railroads, local government to bolster rail freight in NYC

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The Metropolitan Rail Freight Council has released a multi-faceted action plan designed to expand rail freight in and around New York City.

The Council said the plan is “a guiding document dedicated to growing rail freight capacity and volumes, investing in and preserving rail freight infrastructure, creating quality jobs, promoting environmental sustainability, creating an infrastructure bank, and ensuring a more resilient freight supply chain for the New York City metropolitan area.

It said a combination of worn-out infrastructure and regulatory challenges has led to overreliance on trucking instead of rail to move goods around the region, resulting in increased traffic congestion, pollution, and expensive infrastructure maintenance.

The plan outlines projects including infrastructure enhancements to boost the use of rail to move freight.

The Council is chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and is co-managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Members include the New York City Mayor’s Office, New York City Department of Transportation, and New York City Emergency Management. Member railroads include CSX, Norfolk Southern, New York New Jersey Rail, New York & Atlantic Railway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.

“It is critically important,” said Nadler, “to the future of New York City and the Metropolitan region to be able to move more goods by rail, with an expected increase of at least 37 percent in freight being transported to, from and through this region over the next 20 years—beyond the capacity of our roadways—doing nothing is unacceptable and is tantamount to putting a lid on economic development. [W]e have created an open forum where rail stakeholders meet and identify and resolve problems, report on progress, and increase cooperation between all rail stakeholders, both private entities and public agencies.”

Primary goals of the Action Plan:

• Economic Development: Grow the number of jobs in the region by increasing competitiveness by making rail shipping a more attractive option;

• Capacity: Increase the amount of freight that rail can move over the network to support current and future demand;

• Connectivity: Optimize the freight network to increase fluidity and efficiency across the supply chain;

• Safety: Ensure the safety and security of pedestrians, private vehicles, and passengers;

• Sustainability: Minimize the environmental impacts of goods transported by rail-served businesses;

• Resiliency: The ability for the freight transportation network to rebound from an unexpected disruption, and limit the impact of extreme weather events through hazard mitigation.

Intermodal traffic in the Port of New York and New Jersey grew by 22% percent between 2013 and 2015, outperforming the national growth rate of 7%.

The Council pointed to investments by the Port Authority and City of New York in Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s “Southern Gateway,” aiding a resurgence in rail freight volume. The car float operation operated by New York New Jersey Rail moves freight cars across New York Harbor between Greenville, N.J. and Brooklyn.

Click here to read the complete action plan.







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