Landfill rail spur would decrease truck traffic

Residents living along the Route 414, Route 96 and Route 89 corridors will soon see a drop in truck traffic if all goes as planned with a rail spur project at the Seneca Meadows Landfill. The company announced, today, that, in conjunction with Finger Lakes Railway, it will pilot a single track spur for the receipt of construction materials and waste. Annual, waste tonnage limits for the company will remain the same.Trading trucks for rail is a gaining trend in the U.S., and one that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority approves of for waste management facilities, according to their 2013 Cleaner, Greener Communities Program Draft Implementation Strategy. The benefits of this trend are numerous, and were detailed by Finger Lakes Railway in a June 4, 2013 presentation to the Seneca Falls Town Board regarding the Seneca Meadows rail project. These benefits include: 1. Each rail car takes 3 – 4 trucks off of local roadways. In the case of Seneca Meadows, this will increase the longevity of the Route 414, Route 96 and Route 89 corridors, saving taxpayer dollars.2. Freight trains, on average, are 3.8 times more fuel efficient than trucks, which results in a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2009 report entitled, Comparative Evaluation of Rail and Truck Fuel Efficiency on Competitive Corridors, the Federal Rail Administration asserts that if only 10 percent of long-haul freight now moving by truck moved by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 11 million tons.3. Statistics show that rail is the safest way to transport goods over land.“Rail is one of the most eco-friendly and safest shipping modes available today, and many companies are incorporating it into their operating plans. We have consistently looked for ways to reduce the impacts of truck traffic on our community, and while we appreciate the importance of trucks to our business, we are continually looking for ways to improve our operation.” Said Don Gentilcore, Area Manager for Seneca Meadows.The rail spur project will be privately funded, and will tie into the Finger Lakes Railway track system just north of where it intersects North Road in Waterloo. The spur will be located on Seneca Meadows’ property, in the Town of Seneca Falls, on the West Side of Route 414, adjacent to the solid waste operation. The company is initially looking to import construction materials such as liner, aggregate and cover materials, but will also explore the options of waste shipments. Freight containers carrying waste to Seneca Meadows will be fully enclosed, sealed containers, with seals on the base, joints of doors and the cover to prevent the infiltration of rainwater and to seal in odors. The containers will be removed from the train by crane and transferred to specialized trucks that will transport them to the landfill cell. The sealed containers will only be opened at the landfill cell for disposal. We realize that when people hear about this project, they will assume that Seneca Meadows will be seeking an increase in our annual tonnage limit, but that is not the case. We intend to continue operations within the same tonnage limits, and in so doing, this project has the potential to remove a significant number of trucks from our local roadways. It would also create 14 new jobs for our community,” Gentilcore said.

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