Menendez, Booker Announce $44M to Improve Travel Access to Port Newark & Elizabeth

Booker and Menendez

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today joined officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to announce $44 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to improve and modernize the northern access roadway network connecting to Port Newark and Elizabeth Port Authority Marine Terminal (EPAMT). The Port Street Corridor Improvement (PSCI) Project will create safer entranceways to the port complex, reduce congestion, create jobs and boost the local economy.

“This project is going to alleviate traffic, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality for surrounding communities, and help us move more goods in and out of the port complex more efficiently. And there’s no question about this project’s significance to the region and the nation at large,” said Menendez. “This project is good for the port, good for the planet, and good for the people. It doesn’t get better than that.”

“These federal grant dollars will help the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey increase efficiency, enhance the movement of goods, and improve air quality at the largest port on the East Coast,” said Booker. “As the Port of New York and New Jersey continues to thrive as an economic engine for our region and our country, we must ensure that federal resources are dedicated to supporting that growth and improving the quality of life for nearby residents and communities. This grant award demonstrates that when we choose to invest in improving our nation’s infrastructure, we invest in our workforce, in our economy, and in our country’s competitiveness.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity this project presents New Jersey, the region and our entire nation’s economy,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “This project will improve safety and efficiency in what is the largest port complex on the East Coast. Our country has put off infrastructure improvements for far too long. Necessary work like this project will help secure our economic future while easing the environmental impact of the port’s activity. I look forward to this project getting underway and thank the Port Authority for their commitment to intentional access and opportunities for minority, women, disabled and veteran owned businesses and workers.”

PANYNJ will use this funding to make significant upgrades along Port Street, the main northern roadway access point for Port Newark and EPAMT. The project also includes improvements to the Corbin Street ramp, the main point of access to Port Street, which sees approximately 3,600 vehicles an hour, 40% of which are trucks, during peak times. Once complete, it’s estimated that the project would eliminate over 700,000 hours of travel times for cars and trucks accessing the port complex—significantly improving the flow of goods in and out and decreasing harmful air pollution—and accidents would be reduced by 37%.

“This important national investment in our roadway infrastructure has a broad impact far beyond the port, as millions of consumers and thousands of livelihoods depend on the safety and efficiency of its operations,” said PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Shoring up the roads that lead to and from Port Newark ensures that critical supplies, goods and commerce can keep moving throughout the region.”

“This INFRA grant advances the Port Authority’s commitment to modernizing legacy infrastructure while making our facilities safer and more efficient as we keep the region moving,” said PANYNJ Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We thank the Biden administration’s recognition of our seaport’s critical role in the national and regional supply chain with an investment in our port roadway infrastructure that will yield safer and more efficient access to Port Newark and Newark Airport.”

The project is expected to create an additional 260 direct jobs, $25 million in direct wages and $171 million in regional economic activity. Making enhancements to the port’s roadways will boost efficiency and reliability for local, regional and national importers, exporters, trucking firms and distribution centers.

The PSCI project will ultimately lower fuel consumption, reduce pollution and improve air quality, health and safety for residents in neighboring communities. Newark’s nearby Ironbound and South Ward neighborhoods have disproportionately high rates of asthma and related respiratory diseases. The improvements to the Port’s roadways will have significant health benefits to the families and children living in the area.

The USDOT Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants fund nationally significant freight and highway projects that improve safety, reliably, generate national or regional economic benefits, reduce congestion, enhance the resiliency of highway infrastructure and help protect the environment.

“Port Newark is critical to the economy of the region,” said Congressman Albio Sires (N.J.-08). “This grant funding is an important investment in modernizing the port and its surrounding infrastructure for the 21st century. I want to thank the Biden administration for recognizing the importance of Port Newark and working with us to get this done.”

“This grant will continue to improve Port Newark and increase the economic activity of the entire community,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr (N.J.-10) “In Congress, we are working to make sure we modernize and upgrade all our ports nationwide.  President Biden has shown great leadership in his support of these upgrades.  I know that an improved Port Newark will lead to more jobs and economic prosperity for families throughout my 10th Congressional District.”

“As our nation, our state, our county, and our city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that plagued us for the last 17 months, investments like this one will help our city’s economic vitality and recovery efforts,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Today’s announcement and the $44 million investment by the Biden-Harris administration into the City of Newark and the Port Street Corridor project will accelerate the necessary improvements to our roadways and infrastructure. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the gateway to one of the most concentrated consumer markets in North America and the largest port on the East Coast. Our ability to get goods into the hands of consumers quickly gives us our competitive edge. So, any investment including this INRFA grant will enhance our port operations, bring jobs to our Newark residents, and advance our economic recovery efforts.”

One third of all containers on the east coast of North America comes through Port New York and New Jersey. In 2020 and despite the pandemic, the Port handled a record high 7.6 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, the common measure of cargo size). Approximately 15,000 trucks carry goods to and from the Port each day. The Port handled around 7.5 million TEUs in all of 2019.

Throughout his time in Congress, Menendez has been a leading advocate to ensure the Port’s long-tern viability and competitiveness as an economic driver in the region. He was instrumental in securing the funding and approvals needed to deepen navigational channels and berths in order to accommodate larger ships and prevent the shipping industry from leaving New Jersey for other ports. He also helped secure the funding and approvals necessary to raise the Bayonne Bridge, which was completed in 2019. The $1.7 billion project raised the bridge to allow for the world’s largest container ships to access the Port. The Senator has also consistently delivered federal funding to expand port operations.

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