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Community Board 5 takes official stand against Cross Harbor Rail Tunnel

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The Cross Harbor Tunnel proposal should be nixed once and for all, Community Board 5 (CB 5) members said during its meeting Wednesday night at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.

CB 5 unanimously adopted a recommendation from its Transportation Committee against the freight tunnel alternative in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ) Cross Harbor Freight Program (CHFP).

The full board requested that the PANYNJ refuse to consider the rail tunnel; the committee charged that such a tunnel below New York Harbor connecting freight lines in Brooklyn and New Jersey would add unnecessary burdens to the communities already dealing with increased rail activity at the Fresh Pond Railyard in Glendale.

“Committee members again discussed the fact that our communities have been overwhelmed by the amount of freight currently being transported by rail, since all freight transported by rail to and from Long Island (Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk) has to come through and be sorted at the Fresh Pond Railyard,” the recommendation stated. “Because of daytime rail track usage constraints throughout the rest of the Long Island Rail Road system, the great majority of freight rail operations in our communities occur from late in the evening until the early morning hours.”

The recommendation also points out that a rail tunnel would only decrease truck activity on the eastbound Hudson River and harbor crossings by an estimated 2.5 percent. It was also noted that PANYNJ should focus more on fixing and updating the locomotives already in use.

“There is another part of this whole improving the movement of goods across New York Harbor, is float barges going from Jersey City to Brooklyn,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “We have not opposed that, but the idea of putting all this freight on rail with only one rail line for all of Long Island … it’s unreasonable to think that that one freight rail line could handle anywhere near the amount of freight that they are talking about.”

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