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news release

P.O. Box 004
Trenton, NJ
08625
Contact: Jayne O'Connor
609-777-2600

RELEASE: July 28, 2000

Office of the Governor

Governor Welcomes Battleship New
Jersey to Camden Waterfront, Tours Admiral
Wilson Boulevard Restoration Aboard Biodiesel Bus


Gov. Christie Whitman today welcomed the 887-foot Battleship New Jersey to the Camden City waterfront and toured restorations along Admiral Wilson Boulevard that are part of renewal efforts in the city.

"This ship's arrival is a dream realized and a promise fulfilled," said Gov. Whitman. "It is the realization of the dream of the many people who worked for nearly 20 years to bring the Battleship New Jersey to New Jersey. This is a great day for all those who have made the Battleship New Jersey their cause."

"It's a promise fulfilled to our veterans that they may have a monument to their valor, as well as a powerful teacher of American history," said the Governor. "And it's a promise fulfilled to the City of Camden, which each day fights a battle against the triple threats of poverty, hopelessness and decay."

The Governor began today's visit to Camden along Admiral Wilson Boulevard riding aboard a New Jersey Transit biodiesel bus operating with reduced emissions that is part of a pilot project for the agency. The recent renovations to Admiral Wilson Boulevard, part of an approximately $45 million Gateway Project, are transforming the area into an attractive entryway to both Camden and southern New Jersey.

The Battleship New Jersey will remain temporarily at the Beckett Street Terminal in Camden across from Penn's Landing in Philadelphia prior to its $22 million restoration project that will transform the historic vessel into a floating museum. Restoration on the Battleship New Jersey is expected to begin Aug. 16, 2000 at the Broadway Terminal, also in Camden with completion scheduled for July 4, 2001.

"What better symbol of Camden's bright future can there be than this great battleship looking over the city from her berth along the waterfront," said Gov. Whitman. "The New Jersey has always been a lucky ship. I know her luck will instill in Camden-as it did in the thousands who served her-a spirit of pride and hope."

"Welcome, 'Big J' to your new home city," said the Governor. "You were a proud and mighty warrior in war. In peace, you will be a proud and mighty teacher. In Camden, you are a symbol of dreams realized."

The Battleship New Jersey is one of four remaining Iowa class battleships, which are the largest, fastest, most powerful, and last battleships ever built in the United States. The USS New Jersey was launched in December 1942 and was commissioned in Philadelphia in May 1943. Her final decommissioning occurred in February 1991.

"This great ship was launched on the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor," said Gov. Whitman. "She's seen combat in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and Beirut, as well as numerous training exercises, NATO exercises and official visits."

"Over her proud history, the New Jersey distinguished herself as no other," said the Governor. "The most decorated battleship in naval history, she's earned 16 Battle Stars and numerous achievement awards in four wars over the span of four decades."

Camden's Gateway Project has resulted in new curbing, paving, sidewalks, lighting, barriers and signage along Admiral Wilson Boulevard (Route 30). Fifteen bridges and abutments have been repaired and painted. The project was announced in March 1999 to deal with roadway improvements, park development, property acquisition and demolition, and economic development for the area. Admiral Wilson Boulevard runs through the cities of Camden and Pennsauken in Camden County.

This summer, New Jersey Transit began running a biodiesel demonstration project for buses located at its Hamilton garage in Mercer County. NJ Transit buses will use a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent regular fuel during the evaluation period scheduled to last for about nine months. Biodiesel is a domestically produced fuel additive made from renewable sources such as vegetable oils. Biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon dioxide-the greenhouse gas of greatest concern-and reduces air toxic emissions by up to 30 percent.

 
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