Uncovered rail cars (background) move waste through a Queens neighborhood.
By Forum Staff
In a vote of 233-188, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a transportation and infrastructure bill that includes legislation which would require covers on all rail cars that transport materials, such as those hauling waste and construction debris through neighborhoods in Queens, according to the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
Under the proposed law, which is part of the Moving Forward Act, the Secretary of Transportation would be directed to propose regulations that require materials transported by rail to be completely covered while in transit, including while being held, delayed or transferred.
The freight trains that travel through communities in Meng’s6th District transport waste and debris on tracks in Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.
“For too long, our borough has been negatively impacted by freight trains that pass through local neighborhoods filled with trash and debris,” Meng said. “Residents in these communities, which include several areas in my congressional district, have complained about the smell of garbage, and expressed concern about materials flying out of traveling rail cars and trash-filled trains sitting idle on the tracks. Subjecting local residents to these conditions is unacceptable. Action is needed to combat the effects of these problems. Placing covers on train cars—so that waste is completely containerized—would provide affected constituents with the relief they need and deserve.”
The Moving Forward Act would spend $1.5 trillion over five years to build and maintain infrastructure and related initiatives.