Date: May 16, 2013
Press Release Number: 52-2013
Action will help boost region’s port commerce and increase jobs
Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and Rep. Albio Sires today praised the quick approval by the U.S. Coast Guard of the Port Authority’s plan to raise the existing Bayonne Bridge roadway to 215 feet, allowing unfettered access for the next generation of larger cargo container ships at New Jersey’s port terminals.
Raising the current roadway 64 feet from its current 151-foot height will allow the bigger 21st century vessels to traverse the Kill Van Kill without impediment to reach terminals in Newark and Elizabeth, once the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the region’s ports, had received fast-track review status for the project last year from President Obama. But the U.S. Coast Guard is the federal permitting agency and needed to favorably complete the environmental before the project could proceed.
“The U.S. Coast Guard’s decision literally clears the way for this $1.3 billion “Raise the Roadway” project to deliver dividends to New Jersey’s economy for decades to come,’’ said Governor Christie. “New Jersey’s bipartisan efforts to fast-track this project shows the value of cooperation to help our state citizens’ prosper economically.
"Raising the Bayonne Bridge is critical to New Jersey's economy and it is great news for our entire region that the Coast Guard has fast-tracked this project," stated Senator Lautenberg, who included language in last year's Coast Guard Authorization bill to help quickly advance the project.
“New Jersey’ needs this project to ensure the port remains competitive in the global economy throughout the 21st century,’’ said Senator Menendez. “It is gratifying that everyone worked together quickly and effectively to ensure the economic engine of the region remains strong.”
“Cooperation among the parties in New Jersey is making the project a reality and this is a victory for New Jersey residents and the state’s economy,’’ said Representative Sires. “We appreciate the U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to effectuate the President’s desire that this vital project be fast-tracked.”
"The success of the Bayonne Bridge project would never have happened without the tireless work of Senators Bob Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and the bi-state House delegation," said Christie.
The decision will allow post-Panamax cargo vessels from Asian nations to travel under the Bayonne Bridge once the Panama Canal expansion provides direct access to the East Coast for these larger ships.
CONTACT: RON MARSICO, 212-435-7777