(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Annette Quijano on Tuesday lauded an agreement by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide $1 billion in funding to either raise or rebuild the Bayonne Bridge to address its low clearance, allowing Ports Newark and Elizabeth to remain competitive shipping destinations.
The issue of the Bayonne Bridge’s low clearance was first brought to light last year, when it was announced that the new draft limits for Panamax ships — the largest ships able to traverse the Panama Canal — following its deepening would exceed the height of the fixed span Bayonne Bridge, effectively preventing these “New Panamax” ships from reaching Ports Newark and Elizabeth.
Quijano (D-Union), who was a prime sponsor of legislation — enacted earlier this year — urging swift action to resolve this problem, issued the following statement:
“The Port Authority’s agreement Thursday to secure funding to address the issue of the Bayonne Bridge’s clearance is welcome news to New Jersey’s shipping industry and our overall economy.
“It also should help allay fears from shipping companies that New Jersey’s ports would be left inaccessible to New Panamax ships post 2015, which, in turn, should keep them from abandoning Ports Newark and Elizabeth for other locales.
“Thursday’s announcement holds the promise of protecting jobs and keeping our state’s shipping economy vibrant. Now, we must ensure that the fix is performed quickly and effectively so that the promise of saved jobs becomes a reality.”