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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) later this month expects to begin the next phase of a public outreach campaign to gather input on the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Cross Harbor Freight program. The authority plans to hold seven public hearings in New York and New Jersey from Jan. 23 to Feb. 10.The hearings will address the region's need for more efficient, cost-effective movement of goods across the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The public comment period on the Tier 1 DEIS began Nov. 13 and ends Feb. 27. Input gathered from the upcoming hearings will help identify an alternative or alternatives that merit further review in a Tier 2 study, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.The authority has proposed the following 10 "build" alternatives for moving freight across New York Harbor: an enhanced rail-car float operation; a lift-on, lift-off container barge; a roll-on, roll-off container barge; a truck float; a truck ferry; a double-stack, double-track rail tunnel; a rail tunnel with shuttle service; a rail tunnel with "Chunnel" service; a rail tunnel with an automated guided vehicle system; and a rail tunnel with truck access. The DEIS analyzed the 10 alternatives and a "no action" alternative based on each's ability to capture a portion of the freight traffic now moving by truck and the potential environmental effects.
The issue of cross-harbor freight movements has been discussed for decades as increased cargo coming to the region has continued to result in worsening road conditions stemming from a near total reliance on trucks to transport goods, PANYNJ officials said. Problems are expected to worsen over the next 20 years since freight movements in the region are projected to increase 37 percent, they said.
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