The Business Council of New York State opposes S.7153 (Addabbo) / A.10176 (Hevesi), which mandates that putrescible waste (municipal solid waste) transported by rail be covered with sealing hard lids and non-putrescible (construction and demolition) waste be securely fastened with hard tarping. The Business Council opposes S.7591 (Addabbo) / A.10819 (Hevesi), which requires contracts by public authorities, such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to mandate such hard lids and tarping.
The Business Council is particularly opposed to a provision of these bills that would mandate hard tarp coverage for construction and demolition waste. This mandate poses significant public safety concerns. In comparison with the current mesh covering, hard tarping can tear or break loose jeopardizing the safety of the surrounding area. Railroads have used mesh covering for several years with no safety problems.
The Legislature should carefully scrutinize the impact of these bills on the New York State economy. The bill and memorandum of support does not cite any compelling evidence from the New York State Assembly Commission on Solid Waste Management or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation calling for such a state-wide mandate. While we are mindful of the sponsor's local community concerns relating to the transportation of waste by rail, this bill would have significant state-wide implications for businesses.
Due to the national nature of the freight railroad business, The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the best suited regulator of waste transported by rail. The FRA was created by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (49 U.S.C. 103, Section 3(e)(1)). Among the responsibilities of FRA is to promulgate and enforce rail safety regulations and conduct research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy.
For the reasons stated in this memorandum, The Business Council of New York State opposes S.7153 (Addabbo) / A.10176 (Hevesi) and S.7591 (Addabbo) / A.10819 (Hevesi).