Jul 26,2005

Abrahams & legislators join diverse coalition to express support for Cross Harbor Tunnel

Abrahams & legislators join diverse coalition to express support for Cross Harbor Tunnel

Long Island officials and civic groups cite tremendous benefits for Long Island

Today Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) and Legislator Dave Mejias (D-North Massapequa) lead a group of civic and environmental groups to join the Cross Harbor Tunnel Coalition. Legislators Abrahams and Mejias join over 190 public officials from both sides of the aisle and local organizations in supporting the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel project. The Coalition believes that the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel brings tremendous environmental, transportation, economic and security benefits to Nassau County, Long Island and the entire New York metropolitan region.

Kevan Abrahams led the Nassau County Legislature delegation in supporting this critical transportation project.

“The rail tunnel would remove up to 1,059 trucks from Nassau County roads annually, along with removing thousands of tons per year of hazardous air pollutants,” Abrahams said.

“This is a win-win transportation project that will improve the quality of life in every Long Island neighborhood and the region,” stated Mejias.

"Every day, thousands of trucks rumble through New York City and Long Island emitting dangerous particulate matter pollution into the air,” said Marcia Bystryn, Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This pollution has been shown to cause a host of health problems including asthma attacks, heart attacks and lung cancer. New York needs the freight tunnel now so we can get these dirty trucks off our roads,"

Over 190 elected officials from both parties and a variety of organizations have endorsed the project as vital for the future of Nassau County, Long Island, and the New York region.

With a population of almost 3 million people, Long Island is one of the nation’s largest consumer markets and yet the East of the Hudson area isn’t connected to the nation’s rail system. Only 1% of freight delivered to Long Island is delivered by rail, compared to the national average of 1 percent. As a result, nearly all of our goods enter and leave the East of Hudson area by truck. Over 9 percent of those goods come in over a single bridge -- the George Washington Bridge. This truck-dependence congests our roads, highways and bridges, and is a major problem for Long Island. Congestion on the Long Island Expressway and local roads results in terrible air pollution, and the highest asthma rates in the nation. This congestion also means that when health emergencies or fires arise, ambulances and fire trucks get mired in traffic.

The dependence on trucks also means that the cost of doing business in New York, and the cost of our consumer goods -- like food and clothing -- are all much higher than other areas of the country. The amount of freight -- from building materials to computers to produce -- coming across the Hudson River will increase by nearly 8 percent in the next 20 years. The increase in trucks to deliver these goods will completely clog our streets with trucks, creating an immovable lid on economic growth. In other words, the growth of the metropolitan area’s economy could come to a grinding halt.

The Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel, which will be built under New York Harbor, will link the nation’s rail system ending in New Jersey, with the existing Bay Ridge & Montauk lines. This Tunnel will allow more goods to move by rail rather than by truck, and offers a safer, more efficient, sustainable way to move goods into and out of Long Island.

For more information regarding the Cross Harbor Tunnel Coalition, please visit

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