Menendez: Bayonne Bridge ‘Bridge to Economic Opportunities’

Menendez: Bayonne Bridge ‘Bridge to Economic Opportunities’

Bridge-raising latest in Menendez’s decades-long effort to ensure long-term viability of Port NY & NJ

 

BAYONNE, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today called the Bayonne Bridge “a bridge to greater economic opportunity for the people of New Jersey” at a rededication ceremony marking the end of a $1.7 billion project to raise the span’s roadway to allow the world’s largest container ships to access the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest container port on the East Coast.  Sen. Menendez has led the fight in Washington to ensure the port’s long-term viability and competitiveness as an economic driver in the region, and was instrumental in securing the approvals necessary to expedite the Bayonne Bridge project.

 

“Today marks a new chapter in [the Bayonne Bridge’s] history, not just as a bridge between two states, but as a bridge to greater opportunities for the people of New Jersey and beyond,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Deepening our port, expanding our capacity for trade and raising the Bayonne Bridge took years of cooperation between many local, state and federal players.  It’s about securing the Port of New York and New Jersey as a gateway for global commerce and jobs in the 21st century.”

Construction on the 88-year-old Bayonne Bridge – a major engineering and historic landmark and the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it first opened in 1931—began in 2013.  The new four-lane roadway and pedestrian/bicycle path was raised from 151 feet above the Kill Van Kull to 215 feet to allow newer, larger cargo ships to travel under the bridge and access port terminals in Elizabeth and Newark.  The higher navigational clearance is estimated to generate 400,000 jobs and billions in economic activity.

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Sen. Menendez has represented the port since he was elected to Congress in 1993, and quickly   recognized the need to deepen navigational channels and berths in order to accommodate larger ships and prevent the shipping industry from leaving New Jersey for other ports.  After negotiations over dredging stalled, the then-Congressman organized high-level talks to bridge the impasse and reach a deal in 1996 to deepen the Port to 50 feet—a massive and complex project completed in 2016.  The Senator has also consistently delivered federal funding to expand port operations

One third of all containers on the east coast of North America comes through Port New Yok and New Jersey.  Last year, it had 753 calls from the largest class of marine vessels—those in the 8,000-18,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units, the common measure of cargo size) range—up from 607 in 2017.  The Port is also experiencing record cargo volumes, handling 7.2 million TEUs in 2018—a nearly 15 percent increase over 2016.  According to the New York Shipping Association, the economic value of port operations included over $25.7 billion in personal income, nearly $64.8 billion in business income, close to $8.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues, with local and state tax revenues of over $2.8 billion and federal tax revenues of over $5.7 billion.

The Senator was joined at today’s ceremony by Gov. Phil Murphy, Congressman Albio Sires (N.J.-08) and Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), State Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton.

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