The Cross Bronx Expressway cuts right through the heart of the Bronx, causing harmful economic and environmental consequences for low income families in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Recognizing the dangers the treacherous road causes, Bronxites are clamoring for change.
On April 23, Congressman Ritchie Torres, Assemblywoman Karines Reyes and various Bronx environmental organizations made their case for the Cross Bronx Expressway to be included in President Biden’s infrastructure package, known as the American Jobs Plan, which will include $20 billion in investments to reconnect neighborhoods torn apart by “urban renewal.”
“The diesel trucks that often congest the Cross Bronx Expressway have been a death sentence for the people of the South Bronx, shorting their life spans with chronic diseases that have grown lethal in the age of COVID19,” Torres said. “The Cross Bronx Expressway is, both literally and figuratively, a structure of environmental racism whose dismantling is long overdue. Reimagining the Cross Bronx Expressway for the 21st century will build the Bronx back – better and greener than ever before. The Bronx deserves nothing less than its fair share of the American Jobs Plan.”
The congressman recently sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pushing for the inclusion of the Cross Bronx Expressway in the American Jobs Plan.
“The Cross Bronx left in its wake decades of displacement, disinvestment and environmental degradation whose effects remain deeply felt,” the letter states. “Children who live near the Cross Bronx or who attend school nearby are – through no fault of their own – breathing in pollutants that cause the Bronx to have among the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation. The diesel trucks that often congest the Cross Bronx have been a death sentence for the people of the south Bronx, shorting their life spans with chronic diseases that have grown lethal in the age of COVID. The Cross Bronx Expressway is, both literally and figuratively, a structure of environmental racism whose dismantling is long overdue.”
Reyes, who launched a petition to cap the Cross Bronx, shares her colleague’s passion that environmental racism in the borough must end.
“The Bronx has been in dire need of reinvestment by the federal government to address urban renewal projects that have plagued the health and wellbeing of residents for decades,” Reyes said. “For years, black and brown communities have been subject to poor health conditions because of the environmental impact of the Cross Bronx Expressway and other highways in the borough. Capping the expressway would offer Bronxites the chance to take back land that has always been rightfully theirs while reducing poor asthma rates and improving the general health of adjacent neighborhoods. I thank Congressman Torres for his advocacy surrounding this issue and for standing together with me as a federal partner in pursuing this proposal.”
Environmental advocate Nilka Martell, founder of Loving the Bronx, was also in attendance.
Special thank you @RepRitchie and Assemblywoman @KarinesReyes87 for inviting me to speak at this morning’s conference to #CapTheCrossBronx @SecretaryPete @USDOT the Bronx has waited long, we earnestly hope you support this project. #LovingTheBronx pic.twitter.com/aG6KsIzuQo
— Nilka Martell (@nilkamartell) April 23, 2021