Office of the Governor
Harbor Deepening Projects Clear Major Hurdle
McGreevey Announces Multi-agency
Effort to Accelerate Work on Project
(Bayonne) - Governor James E. McGreevey, joined by Congressman Robert Menendez and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen,announced today that harbor deepening projects in the Port of New York and New Jersey, which are critical to the state’s economic future, have been cleared to move ahead. McGreevey also announced that his administration will spearhead a multi-agency effort to ensure the swift completion of the project.
McGreevey said a long-awaited “Record of Decision” has been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow deepening projects on the Port of New York/New Jersey to move forward. The Record of Decision is the final action by the Army Corps of Engineers on the environmental review process for the harbor wide 50-foot deepening project.
The Governor also announced that New Jersey would sign a project cooperation agreement next week that will allow work to begin on the deepening of the Port Jersey Channel in Bayonne to 41 feet.
“This is a major milestone that demonstrates our commitment to getting these projects on track,” said Governor McGreevey.
The next steps to move forward with the project include the design phase, operational agreements and ultimately construction to achieve the goal of reaching a 50-foot depth to accommodate a larger and deeper generation of ships transporting goods in the harbor.
"The Port is an economic engine for the region, but we need to speed up the investments that are needed to sustain Port growth and to keep the Port competitive for the 21st Century," McGreevey said. “We have engaged in a collaborative effort. With the leadership of the congressional delegation, we must accelerate the speed at which we will complete these critical projects, and we will do so in a responsible fashion. This is a model for how government should take action,” said the Governor.
"The increased and continued growth of the international maritime trade at the Port of New York and New Jersey represents a tremendous opportunity for the region--to create new jobs, generate higher incomes, reduce the cost of doing business and to raise the standard of living in the region. That's why as New Jersey's senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked hard to make sure critical Federal dollars are secured for the ongoing modernization of our port and the deepening of its channels," said Congressman Frelinghuysen.
The New Jersey/New York ports comprise the third largest container port in the United States and the largest port on North America’s East Coast. The Port generates over $29 billion in economic activity in New Jersey, directly supporting 101,700 jobs and over 227,285 jobs in total.
In addition, public agencies and private corporations are planning to invest $4.4 billion in port-related infrastructure over the course of the next five years.
"The channel deepening project will generate jobs and economic development for the City of Bayonne and the entire North Jersey-New York region,” said Bayonne Mayor Joseph Doria.
“For hundreds of years, this harbor has been a central force behind New Jersey’s economic success as well as the entire region. A critical part of that is putting in place the infrastructure to support modern shipping,” said Joseph Seymour, Executive Director Port Authority. “The Port Authority is proud to be a part of this effort through our $1.5 billion port redevelopment program as well as our commitment of $60 million harbor restoration funds, $30 million of which will be invested in New Jersey, to acquire and protect properties that are environmentally significant to the region.”
Governor McGreevey has directed the New Jersey Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection (DEP) to work closely with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consolidate major portions of the deepening currently authorized for the Port of New York and New Jersey. This will significantly speed up the progress to complete these needed projects, saving both time and money. It will also minimize environmental impacts.
"Taking the Port Jersey Channel to fifty feet as soon as possible is critical to the success of the development of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) site and the continued operations of the existing terminal operator," said Congressman Menendez. "That is why I worked closely with Congressman Frelinghuysen and the Governor to proactively address the Corps' concerns and make sure that the Corps understood, at all levels, how important these projects are to the economic vitality of our region."
"I appreciate the assistance of the Governor, Congressman Frelinghuysen and all of the Port supporters in coming together to overcome this latest obstacle," added Menendez. "Thanks to our hard work, the Corps recognized the importance of these projects and we are now set to move forward with the signing of the project cooperation agreements in the next few weeks.”
“The United State Army Corps has a 150-year history with the Port of New York and New Jersey. These formalized agreements will allow us to initiate construction on the Port Jersey project and continue with the engineering and design phase on the critical 50-foot channel-deepening project. By continuing to work together, we can achieve our vision of a world class estuary for the region," said Col. John B. O'Dowd, New York District Engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.
As a first step in accelerating the series of environmental reviews and requirements for the project, New Jersey issued its Coastal Zone Consistency Determination, representing a general approval of the 50-foot deepening project. These harbor deepening projects represent the largest commitment in dollars in the Port redevelopment program and are key to providing ocean access to the Port.
Governor McGreevey also acknowledged that harbor dredging programs must be done in concert with efforts to improve and expand the Harbor Estuary. "We want to make this a model of smart government," McGreevey said, "demonstrating that we can improve port infrastructure for a new generation of ships while enhancing protection of the environment and restoration of natural resources."
Governor McGreevey will also spearhead efforts to ensure all participating agencies to work closely together to find opportunities to consolidate and increase efficiency.
“It is imperative to take advantage of opportunities to reduce social, economic and environmental impacts by consolidating these projects,” said McGreevey. “I am committed to assembling a bi-partisan, bi-state coalition of state agencies, including the New Jersey departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, congressional leaders and local officials to continue to advocate for advancement of critical channel deepening projects.”
The 50-foot harbor deepening projects are due to begin in 2004. The channels to be deepened include:
The Port of New York/New Jersey holds tremendous economic significance to the region. The Port of New York/New Jersey is the:
- Ambrose Channel
- Anchorage Channel
- Kill Van Kull
- Newark Bay
- Elizabeth Channel
- South Elizabeth Channel
- Arthur Kill
- Port Jersey Channel
- Bay Ridge Channel
- 3rd largest container port in the United States
- largest port on North America’s East Coast
- largest petroleum product port in the United States
- serves 37 million people within 250 miles
- major vehicle port: 300,000 imports, 100,000 exports annually