Millions of tons of freight move through the New York Metropolitan region each year. Recent studies conducted by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council indicate that in 2004 (most recent data), 434 million tons of freight moved into, through and out of the region. By 2030, this volume is expected to increase to 804 million tons annually, an increase of 85 percent.
This is good news for the region’s economy. Yet, because the rail and port infrastructure in New York and Connecticut is either underdeveloped or underutilized, any increase in freight volume also means an increase in trucks and our roadways and in our cities and communities. This means additional wear and tear on highways and streets; safety concerns for pedestrians; quality-of-life issues from idling and illegal truck routes; and health and environmental concerns from an increase in truck exhaust, especially in low-income or communities of color.
Tri-State works to address these existing impacts and advocates for initiatives that support a balanced and more sustainable freight infrastructure. Our efforts promote cleaner alternatives to trucks, increase public commitment to rail freight investment, and to empower citizens to protect their neighborhoods. The latter includes education on traffic calming methods which effectively bar trucks from local streets, and advocating for improved police enforcement and city and state monitoring of truck freight.
Here are some initiatives we are working on:
This project would connect rail points east (Brooklyn) and west (Jersey City) of the Hudson River via an underground tunnel beneath the harbor. Poor rail connections between the two states are the primary reason that parts of the Northeast are so dependent on trucks -- over 90% of freight coming into NY and Connecticut is via trucks.
Local Rail Freight Initiatives
Local rail projects and infrastructure can significantly reduce the traffic and air pollution in communities. State agencies and private industry play a significant role in the expansion of rail freight. Read how rail freight reduces air pollution in the South Bronx and in Staten Island. Read about our efforts to reduce truck traffic on Long Island.
Solid Waste Management Plan (NYC)
The SWMP was adopted by the City Council in 2006 to reduce truck traffic (by 3.5 million miles annually within NYC, with even larger reductions outside of the city) and require each borough to handle its own garbage and recyclables. Read about the plan on the Department of Sanitation’s website and get more background from MTR.
More from Mobilizing the Region:
Tri-State works with community residents and elected officials to mitigate the environmental, health, safety and quality of life issues resulting from the increase of trucks in city neighborhoods. We advocate for improved citywide enforcement of truck violations, educate communities on traffic calming and other ways to effect change, partner with local organizations to highlight truck impacts, and build support for policies and legislation improving truck management.
From Mobilizing the Region: