Comments regarding acquisition of the Grace Asphalt Plant in Queens by the NYC Dept. of Transportation  

June 2, 2009

Good Morning. My name is Kyle Wiswall. I am Staff Attorney and General Counsel of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Tri-State is a non-profit watchdog group that, among other initiatives, works to reduce truck traffic on the City's streets.

Tri-State urges the City Council to support the acquisition and operation by the New York City Department of Transportation ("DOT") of an asphalt plant adjacent to its Harper Street Yard property in Queens. The acquisition would allow the DOT to deliver better and greener streets to the people of New York and contribute to the City’s sustainability goals.

The DOT plans to modernize the Queens plant in order to produce a higher percentage of Recycled Asphalt Pavement ("RAP"), using materials culled from road resurfacing projects that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The NYC DOT is a national leader in the production and use of RAP. At the DOT's Brooklyn plant, where 40% of the output is RAP, the city has cut costs, saved 840,000 barrels of oil per year and avoided nearly 321,000 miles annually in local truck miles traveled, resulting in less diesel emissions, lower traffic volumes and less wear-and-tear on the streets.

Between modernization and potential gains from DOT's experimentation with "Warm-mix" asphalt, the DOT could produce asphalt at the Queens plant that is 60% RAP, amplifying the benefits even further.

The Queens plant is an existing land use, requiring no zoning changes or special permits. Approval would mean only cleaner, more efficient and less costly asphalt production and road maintenance. The transfer would ensure the continued availability of materials for the DOT and assure resurfacing and plant jobs remain.

Again, we strongly urge you to support the DOT's goal of operating a municipal asphalt plant in Queens. Thank you.