THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


THE PORT AUTHORITY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AUTHORIZES A HISTORIC PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR REPLACEMENT OF THE GOETHALS BRIDGE

Date: Apr 24, 2013
Press Release Number: 38-2013

Agency’s first new bridge in more than 80 years will be the first true surface transportation public-private partnership in the Northeast Region

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today awarded a 40-year design-build-finance-maintain contract to NYNJ Link Partnership as part of a $1.5 billion public-private partnership (PPP) to replace the Goethals Bridge with a new state-of-the-art cable-stayed bridge.

The project will create more than 2,250 direct construction jobs, $224 million in wages, and $872 million in economic activity for the region. The new span will connect Staten Island, New York with Elizabeth, New Jersey. Construction crews will remove the current Goethals Bridge once construction on the replacement span is complete.

This is the first time the Port Authority will build a new bridge since 1931, when the George Washington Bridge opened to vehicular traffic. Port Authority engineers determined that building a new replacement bridge is a more cost-effective solution than repairing the existing bridge.

The Port Authority is utilizing an innovative PPP that allows the agency to maintain control of the asset, while having access to private-sector construction and maintenance expertise as well as private capital. The unique agreement will save the Port Authority an estimated 10 percent in combined construction and maintenance costs over the life of the agreement versus the Port Authority’s own project estimates, while minimizing any impact to the agency’s debt capacity. The developer will benefit from access of up to $500 million in a low cost, U.S. DOT TIFIA loan and the issuance of Private Activity Bonds.

The Port Authority believes the incentives included in the deal will speed the delivery of the completed bridge by at least six months compared to the Port Authority’s own construction estimates. The Goethals is the first surface transportation project built as a true PPP in the Northeast Region.

“The replacement of the Goethals Bridge is a historic undertaking for the Port Authority, as is the use of this groundbreaking PPP structure which will permit the agency to leverage the private sector’s capital and expertise while freeing up valuable resources for other, mission-critical, transportation infrastructure projects,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “The Port Authority remains committed to supporting and improving the region’s transportation infrastructure, and we will continue our focus on delivering these much-needed projects in innovative, safe and cost-efficient ways.”

“The innovative PPP process the agency is using to build a replacement Goethals Bridge will allow the Port Authority to maximize private sector ingenuity and capital, while minimizing the use of public funds,” said Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler. “This is the first time a PPP is being used to build surface transportation infrastructure in the Northeast and we believe it will serve as a model moving forward.”

“The Port Authority’s approval of the Goethals and Bayonne Bridge projects is welcome news, said Richard T. Anderson, President of the New York Building Congress. “In particular, the New York Building Congress applauds the Port Authority for moving forward with a public-private partnership in rebuilding the Goethals. Such innovative partnerships with the private sector are the wave of the future, which we hope will be emulated widely in the coming years.”

“These multi-billion dollar projects are vital to our regional infrastructure and to our regional economy,” said Jack Kocsis, Jr., chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of New Jersey. “The Port Authority strives to match the best innovation with the local contractors of the highest caliber. We commend the Port Authority as they rebuild our most vital infrastructure projects.”

The NYNJ Link Partnership comprises Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Inc. and Kiewit Development, together with lead contractors Kiewit Infrastructure, Weeks Marine, and Massman Construction.

The new bridge will include additional wider travel lanes and 12-foot shoulders that will ease congestion and accommodate anticipated future traffic volumes. It also will provide state-of-the-art smart bridge technology, including Roadway Weather Information Systems that collect environmental data such as wind speed, visibility, and pavement temperature, as well as a Traffic Detection System that use sensors embedded in the roadway to provide alerts on traffic build-up so incident response plans may be quickly implemented.

Additionally, the new structure will restore pedestrian access to the Goethals Bridge with a pedestrian/bicycle pathway—a safe, scenic passageway for recreational enjoyment. The replacement Goethals Bridge will have a 100-year service life and will be built to include options for mass transit in the future.

The current Goethals Bridge is a crucial asset to the region’s productivity. Its strategic location sustains the robust commercial activity of the New York Container Terminal in Staten Island and its proximity to Newark International Airport positions it at the center of one of the largest air cargo gateways in the nation.

Construction on the replacement bridge is expected to begin later this year, with initial service commencing in late 2016 and substantial completion of the bridge occurring in late 2017. To ensure the speedy delivery of the project, milestone payments to the developer will not begin until the bridge nears completion. The current Goethals Bridge will remain open until service begins on the new bridge. The Port Authority is developing an overall traffic plan for the life of the project and the agency does not expect there to be any significant traffic impacts throughout the life of the project.

In other action taken by the Board today, the Commissioners awarded a $743.3 million contract to Skanska Koch, Inc. / Kiewit Infrastructure Co. (JV) team as part of a $1.29 billion program to increase the navigational clearance of the Bayonne Bridge. The project will allow larger, post-Panamax ships to access our ports. The Board also approved a $15.3 million contract to Crisdel Group to resurface the Outerbridge Crossing.

Along with the three projects approved as part of the Port Authority’s bridge construction program, work is expected to begin in 2014 on the replacement of the George Washington Bridge suspender ropes. It will be the first time in the bridge’s history that the ropes will be replaced. The project will create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity for the region.

Today’s announcement builds on the Board of Commissioners commitment to return to the agency’s core mission and makes good on the promises made to toll payers that revenue from the toll and fare increase in 2011 was necessary and would go directly to improving the agency’s aging infrastructure.

CONTACT: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in New York. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the state of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency relies on revenues generated by facility users, tolls, fees and rents as well as loans, bond financing, and federal grants to fund its operations. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.