A waster transfer station on the Upper East Side has been a controversial topic for the past 10 years, even since Mayor Bloomberg proposed to put a new trash facility on East 91st Street and the East River. Even though it's under construction, the Independent Budget Office says it'd actually be much less expensive if we just kept shipping trash to New Jersey and Yonkers!
In a letter (PDF) to Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, the IBO wrote, "The present value of the twenty-year cost of exporting under interim contracts to transfer station is $253.2 million compared with $632.5 million for construction and operating the East 91st Street MTS. We estimate that in 2016, the first year of operations at the new facility, the cost per ton_including capital costs—would be $278 for the East 91st MTS and $93 for the interim plan."
One Upper East Side resident who opposes the trash station, Milagros Velasquez, told the Post, "It makes me really mad. That money could be used for things we more desperately need — schools, seniors, health care."
The Upper East Side trash facility was introduced as a way to stop shifting the trash burden to other boroughs—former City Councilman Charles Barron accused opponents of the plan of "environmental racism." Supporters of the facility, which will be located near public housing, argue that it will be much more sustainable, by increasing the recycling rate, cutting down on truck traffic (the trash will be moved by barge), etc.
Mayoral spokesman Phil Walzak told the Post that Mayor de Blasio supports the five-borough trash plan because it treats all boroughs fairly," but earlier this year, de Blasio ally and former Acorn head Bertha Lewis told the NY Times, “You want to solve the problem of environmental racism, first of all, cop to it. But don’t tell me now that you’re going to put this particular marine transfer station smack dab in the middle of poor people, black and brown people, public housing people, and somehow claim that is some type of virtue."