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Congressman Sires’ Testimony on the Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway Project

Feb 14, 2013
Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                           Contact: Erica Daughtrey

February 13, 2013                                                                   201-309-0301

Congressman Sires’ Testimony on the Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway Project

(Newark, NJ) –Today, Congressman Sires released the following testimony regarding the Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway Project. On February 5, 2013, this testimony was presented at a public meeting held at the Bayonne High School Auditorium.

“Since widening the Panama Canal became a topic of concern in 2009, I have given my total support to the raising of the Bayonne Bridge.  I have participated in several press conferences including the initial study funding authorization by the Port Authority of NYNJ to review the various options, the announcement by Governor Christie, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia, and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith on the securing of $1Billion for the Bayonne Bridge solution, and the final decision by the PA on raising the Bridge roadway to accommodate super container ships (Post Panamax vessels).  In addition, I have held two meetings with area elected officials and various stakeholders to update everyone on the status of the project. 

The issue is how best to provide for facilities that enable the super container ships to access Port Newark/Elizabeth and Howland Hook Marine Terminal. With the completion date of around 2016, the Panama Canal is being widened for the next generation of freight and cargo shipping.  This new generation of post-Panamax container ships is more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and will result in less emissions per cargo container unit. As of now, the Bayonne Bridge Roadway is too low to enable these ships to access the affected port facilities. If they cannot access our ports, these vessels will need to make arrangements to other East Coast facilities and they will have no choice but to do so.

It is imperative that this project move forward expeditiously for the following reasons.  Firstly, there are 280,000 regional jobs at stake as a result of these port facilities. Secondly, the proposed solution is the least disruptive to the navigational channel, the environment, and surrounding neighborhoods. Third, the Bayonne Bridge historic arc is maintained and the proposed raising of the roadway still connects the existing New York New Jersey bridge approaches to local streets. Finally, this is the least costly alternative and very importantly, it is the shortest construction schedule. 

If the shipping industry does not see immediate progress on this issue, they will have no choice in the foreseeable future but to make arrangements to divert their shipping to other locations.  Therefore, I strongly advocate that this project move forward and is approved as soon as possible, so that construction may begin and plans can be made to ensure that the regional economic benefits are not only maintained, but are increased.  Our regional economy depends on it.”