The Port Authority believes its request to the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard is the first in the country to be submitted in response to the newly issued EO.
“For too long, the Port Authority and other public agencies in the region and across the country have been caught in a web of too much process and bureaucracy,” said Port Authority executive director Pat Foye who applauded President Obama’s decision to let common sense rule and to encourage coordination, urgency, and accountability for federal permitting processes at a time when critical infrastructure projects are vital to job creation and economic activity.
“The US$1bn Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway project is an ideal contender for this initiative. We are not building a new bridge but simply raising the roadway and rehabilitating an existing structure. As the Panama Canal widening effort nears completion, every day becomes critically important to our goal of making sure larger cargo ships can access the Port of New York and New Jersey through the Bayonne Bridge. Speed is essential, and I am committed to making the Port Authority faster and more competitive,” said Foye.
The Port Authority has committed US$1bn to this project to increase the navigational clearance of the Bayonne Bridge from 151 feet (46 m) to 215 feet (65.5 m), in anticipation of the Panama Canal widening completion in 2014. This expansion will allow for larger post-Panamax ships to access the region through the Kill Van Kull Channel.
The project is currently undergoing the required Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review with the US Coast Guard, the designated lead federal agency under the US Department of Homeland Security.
Construction on this project is anticipated to begin in early 2013, pending federal and local environmental reviews.