BFI Says Train Will Remove 1,000 Trucks from Road

Linden, NJ - The plan to move New York City garbage by train will remove 1,000 garbage trucks from New Jersey highways and local roads each day, representatives of BFI Transfer Systems of New Jersey told the Union County Board of Freeholders at a public hearing in Linden on August 13.

The hearing was held as part of Union County's response to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Shinn's request for more information on the BFI proposal to move New York household garbage by barge to a transfer facility in Linden, load it into sealed, steel containers, and place the containers on rail cars for shipment to landfills in South Carolina and Georgia.

"On November 30, 2000, you adopted this plan amendment for very sound public policy reasons," BFI Transportation Manager David Iverson told the Freeholders. "It significantly improves the quality of life for people in Union County and its neighboring counties by taking about 1,000 garbage-hauling trucks off the roads everyday. This will reduce traffic congestion, and the cost associated with the wear and tear on county, state and federal highways. Moreover, it will have significant air quality benefits for Union County and the region," Mr. Iverson said.

Mr. Iverson noted that the train originating from the Linden facility will not be the first train carrying trash in similar containers in New Jersey. Almost every day, for almost four years, a train varying in length from 4,300 feet to 8,100 feet has traveled along the Lehigh Line through Central New Jersey, carrying household garbage from New York and Massachusetts.

"It is unlikely that anyone other than the most fanatical rail enthusiast even knows that the train is there," Mr. Iverson said.

In addressing the air quality issue raised by DEP, Mr. Iverson was joined by consulting engineer George Cascino, who discussed the results of a study comparing the air quality impact of the BFI plan with the air quality impact of the existing methods of disposing of New York City waste. These include truck transport to several New Jersey transfer stations for transportation to out-of-state landfills by tractor-trailer, and incineration at the resource recovery facility in Newark.

Mr. Cascino said the trucks and incineration currently produce more than three times as much NOx and VOC ozone precursors, eighteen times as much carbon dioxide and eight times as much fine particulate matter as the BFI train proposal would produce.

"The use of [the BFI] facility will result in a reduction of [NOx and VOCs] ozone precursors by almost 600 tons per year ... a reduction of carbon monoxide by almost 900 tons per year ... [and] a reduction of about 70 tons per year of [fine particulate matter]," Mr. Cascino reported.

Mr. Iverson added, "...nobody roots for garbage, and we are not asking the Freeholders to do that. What we are asking you to do is make the best quality of life decision for your constituents and the people in the neighboring counties. "Sometimes, this requires tough choices. This one's easy: 1,000 trucks or one train," he said.

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