Port Authority Bridge Lift Project Moving Full-Speed Ahead [AUDIO]
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been sharply criticized in recent months for millions of dollars in cost over-runs in constructing the new World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.
Some lawmakers continue to call for Hudson River toll rollbacks, but PA officials say that simply can't happen because they're working on numerous projects to improve and enhance transportation and economic development across the region. Projects that must be funded properly.
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni says, "Our job is to make sure we're investing in the region and creating jobs, so from our investments at the Bayonne Bridge, the Goethals Bridge, Newark Airport, a new train station at Harrison, a Lincoln Tunnel rehabilitation project, new suspender robes on the George Washington Bridge. The Port Authority is investing billions of dollars to build and rebuild the economy of New York and New Jersey."
He says all of these projects are important, but "there is no more important project to the economy of New Jersey and the entire region than making sure the largest ships in world can get under the Bayonne Bridge."
Baroni points out a new generation of super-sized cargo ships will begin passing through the Panama Canal at the end of 2014.
"We are working around the clock to expedite the building of the Bayonne Bridge, to raise it from 151 feet to 215 feet to make sure those largest ships can get to Port Newark. The ships have to get here because so much of our economy is driven, 250 thousand jobs everyday direct and indirect, come from the Port of New York and New Jersey."
"Raising the Bayonne Bridge requires us to literally raise the roadway, so people are going to be driving on the Bayonne Bridge as we build a new roadway above them. It's literally never been done before. We have to keep these cargo ships coming to New York and New Jersey. New York and New Jersey is the largest and busiest port on the east coast. We intend to keep it that way."