Date: Jan 29, 2003
Press Release Number: 10-2003
PA, City Identify Resources for New Emergency Response Facility in Elizabeth, Clear Way for Rail Connection That Will Improve Cargo Movement in Region
The Port Authority and the City of Elizabeth announced that they have identified the resources needed to support critical transportation and public safety projects in Elizabeth, including a rail connection that will improve the shipment of goods in the region, and an emergency response facility to serve Elizabeth, including the airport and seaport. The announcement was made by Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Michael R. DeCotiis and Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.
Under the agreement, the City of Elizabeth will provide the Port Authority with necessary permits to facilitate the construction of a rail connection that will link the Staten Island Railroad to the Chemical Coast Line in Elizabeth, a major national freight line used by Norfolk Southern and CSX.
The connection will help relieve traffic congestion by allowing cargo to be transported by rail between the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island and destinations throughout the Northeast. Currently, all of Howland Hook’s cargo is transported by truck.
These projects will reduce the dependence on trucks to move cargo in the region, reducing highway congestion and improving air quality.
To help support emergency response efforts in the area, the Port Authority and Elizabeth agreed to reallocate $15 million of already committed funds to buy land and build a new emergency response facility closer to Elizabeth’s waterfront. The facility will provide additional resources to respond to emergencies at the Port Authority-Elizabeth Marine Terminal and Newark Liberty International Airport, as well as elsewhere in the city.
In addition, the Port Authority will provide $35 million of previously committed funds to the city and Union County for critical transportation infrastructure projects that support port-related activities.
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director DeCotiis said, \"The Port Authority is committed to working with the City of Elizabeth on important issues that will strengthen the economy and build a better quality of life for its residents and the entire region.
\"This agency shares the City’s concern about taking the necessary steps to plan more effectively for future needs in transportation and in public safety,\" Mr. DeCotiis
added. \"By working together, we have been able to identify ways to help the City better protect the safety and security of its residents and to provide for critical transportation projects that will relieve congestion and allow for more efficient movement of goods throughout the region.\"
DeCotiis also recognized the City’s efforts in providing standby emergency services for the airport and seaport. Last year, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners increased its annual contribution to the Elizabeth Community Development Fund to $3 million to help offset the cost of these vital services.
Elizabeth Mayor Bollwage said, \"Working in conjunction with the Port Authority, we are assuring the safety of our residents and improving the method of transporting cargo throughout the region. We are going to build a state-of-the-art facility capable of housing additional emergency personnel, trained in the latest techniques and procedures, and accommodate the most up-to-date equipment available to effectively respond to any situation in the Elizabeth port area. We will also put into place plans that will alleviate truck congestion and pollution within our city and region. This agreement is a promise kept and a guarantee of a collaborative relationship between the Port Authority and the City of Elizabeth.\"
Elizabeth Councilman Edward Jackus said, \"Our main concern is the safety of our residents. Any agreement with the Port Authority was contingent upon the allocation of funds enabling the development of an Emergency Response facility in the Elizabeth port area. With the new facility and additional personnel, we will be better prepared to handle emergency situations that arise at the airport, seaport, and our port area neighborhoods. We look forward to working with the Port Authority in better securing our city and enhancing cargo transportation throughout the region.\"
The Port Authority also is working with the City to improve safety and security efforts in the area. Initiatives include emergency planning and mutual aid drills; reviewing and updating emergency notification and response protocols; facilitating
delivery of hazardous materials response training for city personnel; ongoing assessment of local, county, state and Port Authority first responder capabilities and needs and supporting the City’s pursuit of federal grants or other funding to address the City’s public safety needs.
In addition to the rail connection, the Port Authority will build a new ship-to-rail transfer terminal at Howland Hook on the former Procter and Gamble property purchased by the Port Authority in 2000. Construction will begin this year and be completed by mid-2005.
An expanded ship-to-rail facility also is under construction at the Port Authority Elizabeth Marine Terminal to replace a smaller rail facility that has reached its capacity.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; 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 is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.