Today, much of the freight destined for New York, Long Island and Connecticut is moved by train from the southern and western parts of the United States, but it gets only as far as Jersey City by rail, because there is no direct connection to railroads east of the Hudson. Instead, goods are transferred to trucks in New Jersey and then carried over our bridges and highways to their final destination. In other cases, the lack of a direct rail freight connection is so prohibitive to sustainable transport that long-haul trucks travel across many states, burdening both New Jersey and New York in the last legs of the journey. Less than 2 percent of freight moves by rail in the region east-of-the-Hudson.
The underdevelopment of our freight rail network will increasingly compromise our region's economy and quality of life. Limited rail freight service ends up clogging our roads, driving up the cost of doing business, constraining our economic growth, and worsening air quality in neighborhoods with record high asthma rates.
To address this problem, New York City conducted a two-year study on the benefits of connecting rail lines east and west of the Hudson by constructing a tunnel under New York Harbor. The Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel would provide a direct connection between existing active rail freight lines on the east and west sides of the Hudson River via a tunnel underneath New York Harbor. The alignment of the tunnel would connect the Greenville Yard in Jersey City to the 65th Street Yard in Brooklyn. Goods coming into the region would be able to move directly across the Hudson River from the west and continue by rail to points much closer to their final destination, whether in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Westchester or Connecticut.