Cross Harbor Freight Program

Photo of a Car Float in front of the Statue of Liberty

Cross Harbor Freight Program: Finding the Best Regional Solutions for Freight-Related Traffic Congestion

There are only a handful of transportation options to cross New York Harbor and the lower Hudson River, and as a consequence, freight traffic currently shares severely congested crossings with cars and mass transit. Freight-related traffic congestion inconveniences everyone involved and imposes environmental and economic costs on the region.

If we don't take action, today's traffic-jams will get worse, and extend for longer and longer periods beyond typical commuting hours. Projected growth in demand for goods—combined with continued dependence on trucks traveling overburdened roads—will create even more congestion, environmental challenges, and safety concerns. It's not just your time at risk—our region's overwhelming dependence on trucking for freight movement increases the costs and environmental impacts of goods movement, while decreasing the reliability and speed of freight delivery and diminishing the safety of our roadways and infrastructure. With expected future growth in freight movement, truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will increase and so will the inefficiencies and adverse effects of our dependence on trucks for freight movement, including higher transportation costs, which would be passed on to consumers as higher prices for goods.

We need to move goods more efficiently. The region needs non-highway alternative freight movement options to increase reliability and resiliency, while reducing costs.

Overall, our region has a well-developed freight rail system, but it is far better developed and better connected to the national rail network west of the Hudson River than it is east of the Hudson River.

Critical rail connections to the east-of-Hudson market are remote, inefficient, or have capacity restrictions. The result? Our region is overwhelmingly dependent on trucks for moving freight across congested chokepoints to and from the east-of-Hudson counties.

A large portion of the region's freight shippers have a limited choice in terms of transportation mode. Consequently, highways leading to and serving the east-of-Hudson counties, and the communities they traverse, experience the greatest proportion of surface freight transport impacts, and freight shippers, receivers, and carriers throughout the region suffer the acute and chronic negative effects of growing highway congestion.

  • The Project
  • The Study
  • Alternatives
  • Technical Docs

The Project

The primary purpose of the Cross Harbor Freight Program (CHFP) is to improve the movement of the freight across New York Harbor between the east-of-Hudson and west-of-Hudson regions. By improving the movement of goods across the harbor, the project would provide near-term and long-term improvements to the regional freight network, reduce truck traffic congestion, improve air quality, and provide economic benefits. The project's goals, and specific objectives under these goals, are the basis for developing the criteria and methodology for evaluating the project alternatives. We've identified several specific goals for the CHFP:

  • Reducing the contribution of cross-harbor truck trips to congestion along major freight corridors
  • Giving cross-harbor shippers, receivers, and carriers attractive new alternatives such as rail and float ferry to existing interstate trucking services
  • Expanding facilities for goods movement to improve system resiliency, safety, and security, and to protect our infrastructure
  • Supporting development of integrated freight transportation/land use strategies

The project will evaluate how the goals may be accomplished at various levels of capital investment and over various time periods. Short-term and long-term improvements would address these goals to different degrees and at various levels of capital investment.

What has been completed 2010 - 2014

  • Publication of Notice of Intent in the Federal Register
  • Publication of Draft Scoping Document
  • Public Scoping Information Sessions and Public Scoping Comment Period
  • Freight demand modeling and presentation of results to relevant agencies and stakeholders
  • Region-wide environmental analyses

What is happening next …

  • Publish Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement, November 2014
  • Beginning of public comment period, November 2014
  • Ongoing stakeholder engagement
  • Public Hearings, early 2015
  • Close of public comment period on Tier I DEIS, February 2015
  • Response to comments on Draft Tier I EIS; Completion of Final Tier I EIS, Spring 2015

Anticipated Record of Decision, Summer 2015

Get Involved

Public Involvement from members of communities throughout the designated study area is vital to this project’s success.

We encourage your input, which may impact the final decision-making process.

Send questions and comments to:

Mark D. Hoffer
Director, New Port Initiatives
Port Commerce Department Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
E-mail: feedback@crossharborstudy.com

The Study

Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Click Here To Read or Download the CHFP Draft Tier I EIS

Submit your comments on the Draft Tier 1 EIS by February 27, 2015

List of repositories where Draft Tier 1 EIS hardcopies are available.

The PANYNJ and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are preparing a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement(EIS). Tiering allows the CHFP to focus on how well the proposed alternatives meet the project's goals and objectives, as well as potential regional environmental effects. Therefore, the data that is collected and presented in the Tier I EIS will be largely focused on mode and alignment; freight facilities and other necessary landside improvements; and, their potential region-wide effects.

The Record of Decision (ROD) will outline which alternatives, or combinations thereof, merit further study. Those alternatives would then be analyzed in a subsequent environmental review process to assess potential localized or site-specific environmental effects and appropriate mitigation measures.

Click Here To Read or Download the CHFP Draft Tier I EIS

Submit your comments on the Draft Tier 1 EIS by February 27, 2015

List of repositories where Draft Tier 1 EIS hardcopies are available.

The Cross Harbor Freight Program has been working hard to identify the best long-term solutions for transporting freight throughout the NY/NJ region: solutions that will reduce traffic congestion, make us more economically competitive, and improve everyone's quality of life.

Here's where we stand:

  • To prepare the Draft Tier I EIS we've modeled market demand and logistics, broadly considered potential environmental effects, and performed a "fatal flaw analysis" to eliminate alternatives that can't possibly work. To do this job right, we've been talking to stakeholders throughout the region—and we continue to do so.

Public hearings will be held in early 2015.

Get Involved

Public Involvement from members of communities throughout the designated study area is vital to this project's success. We encourage your input since it may impact the final decision-making process.

Send questions and comments to:

Mark D. Hoffer
Director, New Port Initiatives
Port Commerce Department Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
E-mail: feedback@crossharborstudy.com

Alternatives

Cross Harbor Freight Program: Considering a Range of Alternatives

The Cross Harbor Freight Program is considering a range of alternatives to address the movement of freight across New York Harbor, between the east-of-Hudson and west-of-Hudson regions.

The alternatives fall into these broad categories:

"No Action"

Considering the "No Action" Alternative is a requirement of the Cross Harbor Freight Program environmental review process, which is being conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The No Action Alternative assumes none of the CHFP alternatives will be implemented, and that only those projects already committed and programmed in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey rail lines and yards would be implemented. For example, we assume that under the No Action Alternative certain near-term improvements to the Cross Harbor railcar float operation, both at Greenville and at 65th Street Yard in Brooklyn, would be constructed.

Waterborne Alternatives

These alternatives all entail the movement of freight utilizing a vessel or other water craft between points on the western and eastern sides of New York Harbor.

  • Enhanced Railcar Float
  • Container Barge Alternatives
  • Truck Float
  • Truck Ferry

Rail Tunnel Alternatives

These alternatives all entail the movement of freight utilizing a tunnel from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

  • Double Stack, Double Track Rail Tunnel
  • Rail Tunnel with Shuttle Service Alternative
  • Rail Tunnel with Chunnel Service Alternative
  • Rail Tunnel with Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Technology Alternative

Documents

We invite you to view documents related to the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Draft Tier 1 EIS
A presentation of the various alternatives under consideration to meet the goals and objectives of the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Draft Tier 1 EIS Hardcopy Repositories
A list of repositories where Draft Tier 1 EIS hardcopies are available.

Scoping Comment Summary
A summary of the response to comments from the late fall 2010 public comment period.

Public Information Session Presentation (5.2011)
A presentation from a local information session on Long Island about Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Scoping Information Session Presentation (10.2010)
A presentation from the regional scoping information sessions about Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Draft Scoping Document (9.2010)
The Draft Scoping Document has been issued to frame the environmental review to solicit public and agency input regarding the project alternatives and environmental issues currently under consideration in the EIS.

Draft EIS Methodology (9.2010)
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Methodology describes the process and methodology that will be undertaken for the development and evaluation of project alternatives and the preparation of the EIS.

Needs Assessment (9.2010)
To fully understand the existing freight market for the region and forecast its future conditions, a 54-county, multi-state Cross Harbor modeling study area has been established.

Alternatives Workshop: Development and Screening (03.24.10)
A Workshop supplement used during a discussion on the potential alternatives considered for the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Technical Advisory Committee Modeling Workshop (12.17.09)
A Workshop presentation used to discuss modeling development and application, and to obtain Committee feedback.

Cross Harbor Freight EIS Stakeholder Committee (09.30.09)
A presentation to the Stakeholder Committee on stakeholder and public involvement, and an in-depth explanation of the EIS process.

NJTPA Freight Committee Presentation (02.17.09)
An early overview presentation of the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

All documents are in PDF format. You will need Acrobat Reader to open and view these documents; you can download Acrobat here for free.

US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Website

News

A Draft Tier 1 EIS has been released.

Submit your comments on the Draft Tier 1 EIS by February 27, 2015.

List of repositories where Draft Tier 1 EIS hardcopies are available.

Public hearings will take place in winter 2015. Please check back shortly for updated information.

Past public information sessions:


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