The Port Authority Board of Commissioners has approved a measure to undertake a demonstration project with the New York City Department of Transportation to retrofit a Staten Island ferryboat with new exhaust emission reduction devices. If the project is successful, a new agreement between the two agencies could be developed to retrofit the remaining six vessels in the Staten Island Ferry fleet.
The demonstration project grew out of discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental agencies in New Jersey, New York and New York City on air impacts associated with the upcoming project to deepen channels in New York harbor to 50 feet. These agencies recognized a need to offset the air emissions of tugs and dredging equipment involved in the historic channel-deepening program. Retrofitting the Staten Island Ferry exhaust system was identified as a potential solution. NYCDOT, recognizing the significance, offered the availability of one ferry to evaluate the feasibility of the emission reduction devices.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, "Reducing air emissions and improving air quality, especially in the New York metropolitan area, are critical environmental and health goals. The Staten Island Ferry is an enduring symbol of New York and now it will be a symbol of sound environmental policy."
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, "Balancing economic growth with good environmental practices is a centerpiece of New Jersey’s Smart Growth agenda. Identifying innovative environmental strategies such as this demonstration project with a Staten Island Ferry will be key to our ability to move forward with critical economic development projects, such as the 50-foot channel deepening project."
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "We are hopeful that this demonstration project proves so successful that it will result in an agreement among all the participating agencies to move forward with plans to retrofit the remaining six Staten Island ferries, bringing further benefit to every resident in our region."
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "These two projects – the 50-foot channel deepening project and the Staten Island Ferry engine demonstration project – underscore the critical role that New York Harbor plays
in our region. Protecting the harbor environmentally and economically is an important part of the Port Authority's mission."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "This project is an excellent example of the Port Authority’s approach to our port redevelopment program. As we move forward on vital port construction projects, such as deepening the channels to 50 feet, we are also undertaking related projects that will have long-term advantages for the region’s environment. In this case, the new lower-emission boats in New York City’s Staten Island Ferry fleet will benefit New Yorkers and residents of the entire port region well beyond the construction period for the 50-foot project."
New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner
Iris Weinshall said, "We are pleased to partner with the Port Authority on this pilot project that has the potential of tremendous benefits for Staten Island Ferry passengers while improving air quality in New York harbor."
The $1.2 million project includes the purchase and installation of the new exhaust system and the development of protocols and monitoring of air emissions from the retrofitted ferryboat. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port Authority are jointly funding the 50-foot harbor deepening project.