Schumer and Torres announce support for federal dollars to cap Cross Bronx – Bronx Times

Because the $1 trillion federal Infrastructure Bill was accredited final week and is awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature, NYC is about to obtain the most important funneling of infrastructure cash in its historical past.

Amongst this huge historic piece of laws is $7.5 billion allotted for the RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Fairness) Grant Program, which might fund transportation upgrades, together with funds for capping the Cross Bronx Expressway.

With 300 diesel trucks that journey on the Cross Bronx Expressway each day, the South Bronx is stuffed with dangerous chemical substances, air air pollution and the very best asthma rates in New York. Recognizing the hazards of the six-and-a-half-mile highway, lawmakers like Democrats U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres and state Assemblywoman Karines Reyes are clamoring for the freeway to be capped off.

Now, with the assistance of Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, the ball is lastly rolling in the correct course. On Nov. 9, Schumer, was joined by Torres, Reyes, NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, activist Nilka Martell, Columbia Professor Dr. Peter Muennig, Democratic Metropolis Councilwoman-elect Marjorie Velazquez and advocates as they celebrated plans to cap the freeway.

U.S Rep. Ritchie Torres, of the Bronx, and different elected officers have a good time the passage of the Infrastructure Invoice at a Nov. 9 press convention.

“We’re here hit to hit the gas on a plan to mitigate the harmful effects of the Cross Bronx Expressway,” Schumer mentioned on the press convention. “This expressway built by Robert Moses is one of the greatest examples of environmental injustice. When it was planned, they didn’t give a hoot about the community.”

In April, Reyes launched a petition to cap the freeway. Capping the Cross Bronx would remove 2.5 miles of under street-level parts of the thoroughfare and assemble inexperienced house making the encircling communities more healthy locations to dwell.

A 2018 case research of this proposal, carried out by lecturers at Columbia College’s Mailman College of Public Well being confirmed that the mannequin would enhance the bronchial asthma charges, basic well being and wellbeing of Bronxites within the adjoining areas whereas lowering Medicaid spending for illness intervention. Comparable initiatives have efficiently been adopted in Boston, Seattle and already within the Bronx with the pedestrianization of the Sheridan Expressway.

Schumer mentioned this is step one within the course of to cap the freeway as research shall be achieved throughout the subsequent yr, prior to starting.

Loving the Bronx founder Nilka Martell and elected officers have a good time the passage of the federal Infrastructure Invoice, which can present cash for the capping of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

In accordance to Schumer, Moses — the famed builder who developed a lot of the roadway system in and round NYC — displaced individuals when he constructed the Cross Bronx. Capping it, nonetheless, will create jobs, convey individuals collectively and make the South Bronx environmentally safer.

“You can’t undo the highway, but there are a lot of things that can be done to protect the community,” he mentioned.

Torres, who battled bronchial asthma as a baby, is aware of firsthand concerning the dangerous pollution from the Cross Bronx. The congressman was grinning from ear to ear as he spoke concerning the cash lastly being there to cap the freeway. Youngsters who dwell or go to college close to the throughfare mustn’t have to breathe in dangerous chemical substances on daily basis, he mentioned.

“We have a historic opportunity to confront poverty in the air our children breathe in the South Bronx,” Torres mentioned.

Like Schumer, the Bronx lawmaker mentioned the South Bronx continues to be haunted by the ghost of Moses. Nicely, now it’s time to lastly flip issues round, he mentioned.

“We have to send a message that clean air is not a privilege, but a right,” Torres added. “If we can build back better in the South Bronx in the poorest congressional district in America, then we can build back anywhere.”

The announcement that there’s lastly cash to cap the Cross Bronx is kind of significant for Martell, founding father of Loving the Bronx, who has been championing for the roadway to be capped since 2016. She mentioned 5 years in the past individuals thought she was loopy when she needed to cap this freeway.

However, in her thoughts, there was by no means a doubt about what wanted to be achieved.

“There’s no greater project in the borough than capping the Cross Bronx,” she mentioned. “For far too long we’ve been negatively impacted by the noise and air pollution created by the vehicles that travel on the Cross Bronx Expressway.”

Attain Jason Cohen at [email protected] or (718) 260-4598. For extra protection, observe us on Twitter, Fb and Instagram @bronxtimes. 

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