neroden wrote:Sheer irrelevance. <SNIP>First of all, based on the objective realities of modern freight railroading, I can't support any publicly funded study on a topic that is so utterly beyond the bounds of reason. The New York waterfront has been largely consigned to history, the car float business is very nearly extinct and it took the spin off LIRR freight operations to save the little freight business that was left on all of Long Island. Looking at New England as a whole, it's clear that the current B&A route is more than adequate to service all of the remaining business, despite clearance restrictions, and even then, CSX has sold off the trackage east of Worchester to the state.
Of course, the amazing thing is that Alfred Perlman anticipated future trends with remarkable clarity back in the 1960s, and demonstrated tremendous foresight in centralizing operations at the ultramodern Selkirk yard. Even then, it was clear that New York was in terminal decline as a port, and much of the old fashioned industrial and manufacturing base was already disappearing. Even 50 years ago, it was clear that there was an irreversible shift in the freight railroading industry in New York and New England.
It's very obvious given the high real estate values, high population densities, high labor costs and primarily residential orientation of land use that Long Island is no place for a major container terminal. For that matter, the Brooklyn waterfront is entirely unsuitable for offloading containers on an economical scale. More to the point, the remaining un-redeveloped waterfront areas of Brooklyn are best reserved for residential purposes.
In the end, you can argue that there is trucking congestion in Long Island, but railroad freight traffic is not an economical or practical solution. Basically, the truck traffic is not related to industrial shippers, since there are very few left on Long Island, but to servicing the consumers of primarily residential Long Island. Long Island is really just a large, residential cul-de-sac, best serviced by the trucking industry.
If there are substantial costs associated with dredging in New Jersey, they are most likely covered by the Army Corp of Engineers, and are entirely justifiable as an expense of maintaining navigable waterways. There are many practical reasons why almost all New York port traffic shifted to New Jersey, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this forum. Needless to say, the cost of dredging did not prevent such a shift. It also goes without saying that it would take many decades, perhaps even centuries of dredging to equal the costs of a freight tunnel, which I would estimate to be in the neighborhood of $100 billion, given the likely cost overruns and inflation.