Shipping by rail, not
October 3, 2011
Every day on
the Long Island Expressway, you see rumbling
18-wheel evidence for the need to get trucks off our
roads. The trucks bang up pavement, spew fumes and
contribute to traffic congestion. But we've been
slow to use rail instead. So the opening of a new
rail freight terminal in Yaphank is a small but
hopeful step on the way to road sanity.
$40-million project started with controversy: a rail
company clearing 18 acres of trees without a permit
from the Town of Brookhaven or Suffolk County. The
facility's backers said no permit was needed,
because federal law exempts interstate railroads and
related facilities from local regulation.
the Brookhaven Rail Terminal cleared all the legal
hurdles, and now it will be receiving hundreds of
thousands of tons of construction material a year.
With expansion -- from its current 28 acres to an
additional 80 -- that annual haul could reach a
million tons and include other kinds of shipments.
tons that would have been riding on the LIE.
Instead, they'll get to Yaphank by rail, and then be
loaded onto smaller trucks for shorter trips.
search for a major intermodal facility to get trucks
off the road, the state had identified Brentwood as
the site. But that option has long been off the
table. So a string of smaller rail-to-truck
facilities seems like a good alternative. If nothing
else, the Yaphank terminal should give us an idea of
how well intermodal transfer facilities can really