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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) last week announced it awarded a $23.7 million contract to consultant Cross Harbor Partners to conduct the second phase of an environmental review for the Cross Harbor Freight Movement Program.Expected to take up to three years to complete, the review will provide a more detailed analysis of the environmental effects and potential mitigation measures for two preferred alternatives identified in a prior Tier 1 study to move freight across New York Harbor, PANYNJ officials said in a press release. A joint venture between STV Inc. and AKRF Inc., Cross Harbor Partners will examine both the construction of a cross harbor freight tunnel and the expansion of PANYNJ's existing rail-car float operation.The rail tunnel alternative calls for building a 4-mile freight tunnel under New York Harbor from Jersey City, New Jersey, to Brooklyn, New York. The rail-car float alternative involves greatly expanding the existing car-float system that currently is operated by PANYNJ subsidiary New York New Jersey Rail LLC, along with constructing new transfer bridges, floats, locomotives and tracks.The second-phase review will help the authority determine if one or both alternatives provide sufficient benefits to justify their costs, PANYNJ officials said. The recommended alternative or alternatives would require additional funding for the next phase of development, which would entail preliminary engineering.Freight traffic in the region is projected to increase 40 percent by 2035, so delays in cargo movements will only worsen unless the authority begins to develop a plan that will provide shippers and distributors with attractive alternatives to trucking, said PANYNJ Executive Director Rick Cotton.
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