Laura Shabe Port of NY & NJ Authority
April 27, 2012 @ 12:00 am EDT
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Our speaker this morning, Laura Shabe is a professional city planner that has taken on the responsibility of the Cross Harbor Float facility that was purchased by the NY, NJ Port Authority. Laura comes to NY-NJ Port Authority with a formidable background in city planning here in the United States and previously in Germany where, according to Laura, planning and building was more of a rational process.
This facility that she is shepherding to operational status is designed to carry rail freight cars from Greenville Yard in Jersey City to Brooklyn. In Brooklyn the cars will be assembled into trains to service the freight needs of Long Island.
This connecting point is important because there is a robust network of tracks already in place in Brooklyn. On the Jersey side the tracks are directly connected to the national rail system.
There was $100 million set aside for the tunnel and was not being used. That money is now being used to study and repair the existing float system. The float system can be fully operational in a relatively short time. When it is done it will be able to move 900 freight cars per day. Ms. Shabe told us that full capacity would be reached almost immediately. We expect a 137% increase in need by 2035 by calculating population projections
This is approximately the same place that Congressman Nadler proposed the Cross Harbor Tunnel. The tunnel, if built, would be able to handle for more traffic than the float system, but the cost may be proportionally much more. We discussed at length the benefit of a tunnel as well as different ways it may be configured. Would it be a train only? Would trucks be accommodated? Would it be able to handle diesel, or would the ventilation requirements make it an electric only connection? Actually this would be a perfect application for Maglev because there would be no emissions and the electric power requirements are completely contained and safe.
Will the tunnel be built? It probably will have to be built someday, in the mean time this operation can and will operate. The tunnel when it is started will take a number of years to complete. Until then this will be an effective stopgap measure. The rail float was "state of the art" when it was originally built, but needs considerable rehabilitation.