Letter: Rail freight would improve LI life

Brookhaven Railroad Terminal in Yaphank, which opened in

Brookhaven Railroad Terminal in Yaphank, which opened in September 2011, has two diesel trains, and one railcar alone can carry four truckloads? worth of freight. (June 22, 2012) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Hats off to Newsday for the editorial "A rail answer to traffic" [Sept. 2]. The editorial concludes, "This much is certain: Only rail -- and a deepwater port -- can reduce our unhealthy dependence on trucks."

Long Island is one of the nation's largest consumer markets. Yet only 1 percent of freight delivered to Long Island is handled by rail, compared to a national average of 15 percent.

To reduce truck traffic by increasing rail freight movement, an intermodal facility is proposed to relieve highway congestion and deliver other benefits such as improved air quality, reduced highway and infrastructure maintenance costs, and improved quality of life. This project would partly achieve those goals.

Access to rail lines is limited because of commuter train use. Whether the freight is carried on rail or truck, it still must flow through New York City, a natural choke point. To maximize gains using the proposed intermodal facility, short sea shipping must be included. Expanding ferry service from the North Shore of Long Island may be the solution.

The question is how can these innovations go forward on Long Island? Everyone talks a good game, but action is lacking. The politicians, advocacy groups and planning agencies all seem to drag their feet, hiding behind the bureaucratic process.

James T. Rooney, Centerport

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