Today’s news:

Trash barge plans for College Pt. scheduled for spring Council vote

Carmen Cognetta, a lawyer for the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste, said the outlook for the plan is cautiously optimistic."Everybody's waiting for the new speaker to come in to have a meeting on it within the next couple months," Cognetta said. "We're hoping it will go through." Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) was elected Council speaker last month, replacing former mayoral hopeful Gifford Miller in the city's second most powerful seat.Miller often criticized the Bloomberg trash plan, which would make use of the College Point marine transfer station to ship out between 75 percent and 80 percent of the borough's refuse by barge over the next 20 years.But Miller's point of contention was centered on the proposed 91st Street marine transfer station on the Upper East Side. He and Mayor Michael Bloomberg often butted heads over the fate of the trash plan in several publicized votes in the Council with Bloomberg emerging victorious. "Now the question is what position the new speaker will take on the 91st Street station," Cognetta said.Maria Alvarado, a spokeswoman for Quinn, said the speaker wants to pass the plan, but details of the Manhattan station are still forthcoming."Other than wanting to see it pass and go through in a more cordial manner than the last time through, there's still some issues to work through," Alvarado said.In all there are four transfer stations included in the plan, officially called the Draft Solid Waste Management Plan, including two in Brooklyn.Supporters expect it to reduce the truck traffic that takes 10,000 to 11,000 tons of daily residential garbage through neighborhoods to New Jersey.City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who voted for the plan, said he too is waiting for the new speaker to take a stance."It will be interesting to see how it turns out now that Gifford Miller is no longer there," he said.If approved by Council, the plan would need approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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