THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE JOINS PORT AUTHORITY TO ANNOUNCE SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION OF REGION’S PORT FACILITIES TO POSITION PORT FOR FUTURE ECONOMIC GROWTH

Date: Jun 24, 2010
Press Release Number: 41-2010

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has agreed to purchase approximately 130 acres of property at the Marine Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY), a significant expansion of port facilities and one that will position the region’s port for future growth.

Acquisition of the property will add 4.5 percent to the Port Authority’s total port acreage on both sides of the Hudson River, and represents a strategic move to ensure scarce waterfront land remains available for port commerce under public stewardship. Despite the global economic decline in recent years, the Port Authority remains confident that the shipping industry will rebound and come back strong, and the agency will make certain it has the capacity to meet future demand.

“Keeping New Jersey’s ports competitive is vital to the state’s long-term economic growth,” said Governor Chris Christie.  “This acquisition will enhance future business opportunities and help spur job creation.”

The Port Authority has tentatively agreed to pay the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority a total consideration of $235 million over twenty-four years to obtain title to the Hudson River property together with permanent easements over the roadways on the MOTBY peninsula for operational and emergency use.  The BLRA voted affirmatively tonight to authorize the deal.

No decisions have been made yet by the Port Authority on how to redevelop the parcel, which represents nearly one-third of the total MOTBY peninsula, but the agency’s action will lock in the land for port use and preclude other development.

Gov. Christie and the Port Authority are working together to bolster New Jersey’s port facilities in the short- and long-term. This week, the agency announced it is fast-tracking a review of environmental issues to help speed modification or replacement of the Bayonne Bridge, which is too low to accommodate larger vessels anticipated at the port after the Panama Canal widening is completed by mid-decade.  Both the Governor and Port Authority are committed to finding a cost-effective solution to fixing the Bayonne Bridge to ensure the long-term health of Ports Newark and Elizabeth and Howland Hook on Staten Island.

Last month, the agency also approved a plan to purchase and redevelop Greenville Yards rail yard along the Hudson River in Jersey City, just north of MOTBY.  With expected completion in 2013, the new facility will help remove as many as 360,000 trash trucks annually from trans-Hudson crossings and New Jersey highways by moving New York City sealed containerized solid waste and other commodities by barge and rail.

“Our port has been one of the region's most important economic engines and this purchase ensures its continued growth," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia.  “Another critical component of our port growth strategy is addressing the Bayonne Bridge height issue and continuing to invest in our existing port facilities in Newark, Elizabeth and Staten Island.”

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “Waterfront industrial property is a precious commodity on both sides of the Hudson River and we are pleased to be able to take advantage of the MOTBY purchase to help position the port for future growth.”

“The Port Authority began in 1921 with the mission of improving port facilities in New Jersey and New York and improving cooperation between the states,’’ said Bill Baroni, the Port Authority’s deputy executive director.  “This effort to expand the region’s port facilities is the latest evidence of how well the port region has been served these past nine decades. When combined with our firm commitment to addressing the Bayonne Bridge clearance issue and protecting Port Elizabeth and Port Newark, I can say with certainty that the Port Authority is passionately pursuing its mission.”

Future growth and expansion of port marine terminals is a key element toward helping the Port Authority manage capacity, develop infrastructure and fund programs on a port-wide basis.  The underutilized waterfront property at MOTBY will help the Port Authority meet its long-term port business needs because of its location and proximity to other port facilities.

Environmental engineers with the Port Authority have reviewed environmental studies prepared by consultants for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the BLRA, and found there are no material environmental issues that would preclude future development of the tract. Attempting to create port property by developing underwater lands would carry significantly higher costs to the agency along with extensive environmental issues.

MOTBY is currently home to 38 different businesses whose lease payments and tariffs will cover all the agency’s operational costs on the peninsula.

The city of Bayonne created MOTBY in 1937 by filling millions of cubic yards of hydraulic fill from New York Harbor into bulkheads.  In 1941, the U.S. Navy obtained the peninsula for use as a dry dock and supply base, before the U.S. Army acquired it in 1967.  MOTBY was designated for closure in 1995 and the property eventually was transferred to the BLRA, which officially renamed it The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor.  The BLRA recently expressed interest in selling the 130-acre section to the Port Authority.

CONTACT:  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Ron Marsico, 212 435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan