BY LUIS GRONDA
Residents’ dismay for a Port Authority train plan that could affect their neighborhood remained on track last Wednesday night.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey came before Community Board 5 at its latest meeting to share an update on its Cross Harbor Freight Train plan and listen to concerns.
PANYNJ says it needs to improve transporting freight through the New York City area in order to streamline delivering goods to companies here.
One idea is to build a rail tunnel between Brooklyn and New Jersey. That route would include the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale.
Mark Hoffer, director of New Port Initiatives in the Port Commerce Department at PANYNJ, said it currently takes too long to transport freight in New York and it must change soon. He said they must take their trains close to Albany before transferring to another track that brings it back down to New York City.
Hoffer presented the board with five options by water and rail.
The Port Authority rep said that whatever it ultimately decides to do, the fact remains that they need the added service to transport goods at a faster rate and it needs to happen soon.
“We have to do something. It’s not going to get any easier,” Hoffer said.
CB5 members tried to derail the PA’s idea of an additional rail option, instead steering them towards exploring the water idea.
Several of the members said the water option seems like it would be better, because it would allow them to take advantage of the ocean that surrounds New York, as well as not be a potential disturbance to residential neighborhoods like Glendale.
“You can see by your price tag, that’s the thing to do because it’s the cheapest and the quickest,” Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said.
Holden was referring to the estimated cost for each option that the agency showed in a presentation about the plans.
According to the presentation, the waterborne alternatives will cost about $100 to $600 million while the rail would cost between $7 and $11 billion. Construction for any water option would take about 2 to 4 years and rail tunnel would take about 8 years to build.
Hoffer said the reason they would consider the rail option, despite its more expensive price tag, is because they believe it can offer a more direct route to get the goods where they are going. He reiterated that no decision either way has been made yet and everything is still on the table.
CB5 later voted on a resolution opposing the freight train plan.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.