Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi today announced that the Assembly budget proposal includes $1.7 million for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to begin updating certain diesel locomotives owned by its subsidiary, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The locomotives, which haul solid waste across New York City and Long Island, are in need of updates to improve their emissions and thereby reduce pollution for residents of these areas.
"These trains greatly reduce truck traffic on our roadways but this crucial service comes with an unfortunate side effect: pollution," said Silver. "This is a quality of life issue and this funding is good for our environment, our neighborhoods, and our families."
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said, "My colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority have agreed that this is an environmental justice issue for those living and working near these trains. Phasing in upgrades to this diesel fleet will serve the State of New York by reducing truck traffic on our roads, protecting our natural resources, and safeguarding our clean air."
This measure requires the MTA and LIRR to begin phasing out, or upgrading, freight locomotive engines as soon as possible in order to meet certain higher emissions standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The average estimated cost to update each of the ten freight locomotives in the fleet is $1.7 million for a total cost of $17 million.
At a minimum, under the proposed change, they must update at least one freight locomotive so that it meets or exceeds the higher standards by December 31 every year beginning in 2013. By April 1, 2023, all such freight locomotives would need to meet or exceed the higher EPA standards. The Assembly budget proposal appropriation for 2013-2014 will contribute towards the start of these efforts.