Mayor Has Smelly Solution for Traffic Congestion

The Mayor has found a smelly way to relieve traffic congestion in the city: Put trash on the train.

Today, along with Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, the Mayor announced that 2,100 tons of daily residential and municipal waste from the Bronx will now be shipped for final disposal by rail, rather than by truck. Fewer trucks on the road will help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, according to a press release. The measure is part of the city’s comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).

The big winner today was not the city, but Waste Management of New York, LLC. The company was awarded a $1 billion, 20-year contract to ship the waste.

The full release below.



Bronx is Second Borough to Implement the Export of All Household Waste

by Rail Instead of Truck

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty today announced that all Bronx residential and municipal waste – approximately 2,100 tons per day – is now being exported for final disposal by rail, rather than by truck. This will mean far fewer trucks traveling on Bronx streets which will help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. The award and implementation of a 20-year contract to export all Bronx household waste by rail is in its first week and is a major milestone for the City’s comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) that was overwhelmingly approved by the City Council last year. The $1 billion, 20-year contract was awarded to Waste Management of New York, LLC (Waste Management). In May, Staten Island became the first borough to have household waste exported by train rather than truck after Mayor Bloomberg reactivated the Staten Island Railroad. Staten Island exports 950 tons per day of household waste using the new rail link. The SWMP enables the City to bring a comprehensive approach to managing the City’s 12,000 daily tons of solid waste by emphasizing waste reduction, recycling, and a sound, equitable method for each borough to handle its own waste. Under the plan, the exportation of waste by rail will mean that trucks will travel 5.7 million fewer miles on City streets.


“Getting truck traffic off of City streets is a hallmark of our Solid Waste Management Plan and residents across the Bronx will benefit from this important change,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since the SWMP was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council, implementation has been swift. With the addition of Marine Transfer Stations and additional contracts to transport waste over rail, soon the entire City will join the Bronx and Staten Island by disposing of waste in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”


“This latest contract represents an important step as the City continues to implement the SWMP and responsibly manages its household refuse,” said Commissioner Doherty. “The exportation of the Bronx’s 2,100 tons per day of refuse by rail will significantly reduce the amount of truck traffic through Bronx streets and will improve the borough’s air quality.”


The contract with Waste Management was signed on Friday, August 10th, and the exportation of waste by rail under the new contract began on that day. Under prior interim contracts, Waste Management managed 1,600 tons of waste per day, and Waste Services of New York managed 500 tons of waste per day. Household refuse from the Bronx’s 12 Department of Sanitation districts is collected and brought to the Harlem River Yard where it is containerized, placed on waiting rail cars, and shipped out-of-state. Under the previous system, all waste was brought to private waste transfer stations and then trucked out-of-state by tractor trailers over highways and interstates. Bronx recyclables are not part of this contract, and will continue to be managed by local recycling vendors.


The SWMP, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, establishes a cost-effective, reliable and environmentally sound system for managing the City’s waste for the next 20 years. Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler is overseeing the implementation of the SWMP through a working group that includes DSNY, the Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Office of Management and Budget, the Law Department and the Parks Department.



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