Streams

Port Authority Awaits Fed Decision on Bayonne Bridge Project

Sunday, April 08, 2012

WNYC

Port Authority officials are waiting to find out whether the federal government will allow a project involving the Bayonne Bridge to move through a faster permit process.

The bridge, which links New Jersey and Staten Island, is inextricably bound to the future success of the New York Harbor. 

Upgrades to the Panama Canal means bigger ships will make their way through the channel and up the East Coast by 2014.  But these mega container ships won’t fit under the Bayonne Bridge, which means they can’t enter New York harbor. 

The Port Authority is spending $1 billion to lift the roadway, so the ships can fit underneath. But there’s a time crunch. The bridge won’t be completed until two years after the Panama Canal is widened.

Without the bigger cargo ships, the port industry is a risk of losing business to other regional harbors. 

Faster federal permitting and reviews could shave up to six months off the project’s timeline. “Every day that a project like this is delayed results in additional accruals of financial costs, and every day and week and month that we can eliminate saves the project and the region money,” Port Authority Director Patrick Foye said. 

President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Permitting and Federal Review last month. It was an idea he introduced during his State of the Union Address.

“We were first in the nation to take advantage of the process,” Foye said.

This will allow the Port Authority and other state agencies to designate projects of regional and national significance.  Those projects, if approved by federal regulators, will be able to undergo concurrent as opposed to sequential reviews that would normally take months to complete.  For example, the Order would allow approved projects to combine the process of an environmental review with an environmental impact statement.

Critics contend the fast-track review process fails to allow adequate time to assess the environmental or community impact a project can have. 

Foye said the Port Authority will likely hear whether the Bayonne Bridge has been approved for the fast-track review process, within the next two months.  He said construction on the Bridge is expected to begin early next year.

Tags:

More in:

Comments [1]

Elm Park Civic Association from Elm Park, Staten Island

We cannot support an expedited review of this project.

Our community surrounds the Staten Island foot of the Bayonne Bridge. The Port Authority has yet to speak with us - and they know wer're here. We were not contacted for the so-called "scoping" review. That scoping review made no mention of the houses and families living almost directly under the bridge - on both the Bayonne and Staten Island sides. No mention of the school, no mention of the park... the preliminary report says there will be no impact on the Kill van Kull - which is unimaginable.

We have a series of projects in the immediate area, and all have dodged rigorous environmental reviews:the Spectra Energy pipeline project in the water under the bridge, the so-called concrete terminal to the immediate west of the bridge, and the excavation/earthwork work going on to the east of the bridge on the Perfetto property.

Elm Park has an historic maritime connection - we welcome projects which lead to appropriate use of our waterfront, and the jobs those projects may bring. But we are also part of an EPA-designated Environmental Justice Showcase community. We demonstrate the end-product of ignoring sustainable, considered development - processes reminiscent of colonial extraction, truly! We have M3 zoning on one side of the street, and residential on the other. We have the Jewett White Lead site, and the ADM site (home of radioactive tailings form the Manhattan Project).

We cannot support an expedited review of this project. Period.

Apr. 09 2012 08:07 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by