Joined by Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia, New
Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere,
President of Maher Terminals Brian Maher and Secretary-Treasurer of the
International Longshoreman's Association Local 1235, Vincent Aulisi,
Governor James E. McGreevey laid the first piece of track for the first
phase of a new $70 million ship-to-rail facility at the Elizabeth-Port
Authority Marine Terminal.
"This new rail facility represents just a small portion of the
approximately $4.4 billion in public and private sector investments
being spent to maintain the port as the East Coast's leading destination
for international shippers," said McGreevey. "The port is creating
jobs, stimulating the economy and making it possible to improve the
transportation infrastructure while protecting and preserving the
McGreevey today met with New Jersey's maritime industry leaders to
update them on progress on the Port's ambitious redevelopment program,
including plans to build new rail facilities, dredge harbor channels,
strengthen wharfs and provide additional space for cargo container
"This past year, our cargo volumes in the port grew by 13 percent," said
McGreevey. "By upgrading these facilities, we will ensure that our port
can handle future growth in cargo activity, which supports more than
225,000 port-related jobs and $14.6 billion in economic activity in the
The rail facility is on a 70-acre site that will straddle the
reconfigured Maher and APM terminals
. It will have the ability to
handle up to one million containers a year when fully operational. The
first 50 acres of the new terminal
is scheduled to open in the first
quarter of 2004.
The second and final phase of the larger facility's construction will be
built under a separate contract and be completed by the end of 2005.
The new intermodal rail terminal will replace an existing facility at
Maher Terminals. The existing rail facility set a new record
handling 228,000 containers.
"The Port Authority understands the important role the port plans in the
everyday lives of approximately 18 million people in the region," said
Coscia. "We committed $1 billion to port infrastructure improvements
over the next five years, and will continue that aggressive level of
investment in the future."
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley
C. Campbell said, "Projects like this new ship-to-rail terminal will
greatly improve the environment and the quality of life for New Jersey
residents. In addition, the Port Authority just launched a new barge
service that will use that means of transportation to move some cargo on
and off the port. By reducing the reliance on trucks to transport cargo
from the ship to the marketplace, we will cut down on truck emissions
and improve air quality for all of us."
McGreevey also announced an $80 million NJ Department of Transportation
initiative designed to increase freight movement on existing rail
freight lines and slow the growth of truck traffic on New Jersey's
highways. Included in the plan - the largest investment in our state's
freight rail infrastructure in New Jersey's history - are a series of
improvements to several rail freight lines and yards throughout the
"This rail freight program will spur economic activity, create jobs and
facilitate the efficient movement of goods throughout the State," said
McGreevey. "The initiative also increases safety on the State's
highways by ensuring that truck traffic does not expand along with the
products docked and transported from our ports."
Over the next 20 years, growth in rail and truck freight
is estimated to
grow by 90 percent. Currently 13% of all freight leaves Port Elizabeth
by rail, but with improvements the volume will increase to 25%.
"A 10-car freight train can haul the equivalent of 600 trucks," said
Lettiere. "By improving our freight rail infrastructure we can reduce
congestion on our highways, improve our air quality and improve the
quality of life for all New Jerseyans."