BY LUIS GRONDA
A Forest Hills elected official is looking for an allocation of money that would upgrade aging engines on locomotives that run though the City.
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) is asking Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to set aside $17 million to upgrade engines on 10 Long Island Rail Road Trains that the company leases out for transporting garbage through New York City and Long Island.
According to a release on the legislation, Hevesi wrote in a letter to Silver that the engines are in dire need of an upgrade in order to be compatible with The Federal Clean Air Act of 1970 and to become more eco friendly.
“Transitioning from truck to rail for waste and freight transport is an admirable goal. However, we need to ensure that while doing this, locomotives meet contemporary engine emissions standards that don’t cause severe environmental degradation for the communities that surround the rail lines,” the Assemblyman said in a statement.
If the money is approved, the engines would be upgraded from tier 0, which were manufactured between 1973 and 1992 and have since been discontinued to tier 3, which would emit cleaner, safer exhaust while transporting waste.
Mary Parisen, president of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions, is pleased with Hevesi’s request for the new engines saying that with more waste traveling by train, the amount of pollution the old engines are omitting needs to be addressed as trains riding through places like Fresh Pond Terminal in Glendale can often disturb residents.
“You can’t do something like that without addressing quality of life issues,” Parisen said.
She added that what Hevesi is asking for should not be unaffordable to New York State, calling it a “drop in the bucket.”
Parisen and her group tried, unsuccessfully, last year to prevent Brookhaven Rail Terminal from buying 232 extra acres of land because they said it would lead to more trains going through Fresh Pond Terminal and causing more pollution.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.