Federal and local officials gathered in Bayonne this afternoon to announce a $650,000 grant to go towards the construction of a new ferry service at the former Military Ocean Terminal to connect the Peninsula City and Manhattan.
“This is something that future generations are going to remember and future generations are going to be enjoying as this city makes a complete and total turnaround,” said Bayonne Chief Financial Officer Terrence Malloy.
The grant announcement was far from a surprise: Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis’ team announced the six-figure boost to the project in the final days of his successful re-election campaign.
While Davis and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) were initially advertised for the event, neither ended up being able to attend. Despite that fact, the mood in the room remained overwhelmingly positive regarding the project.
“It’s funny: I was coming in from New York today and when I was trying to figure out the best way to get here I was using all my apps, all these tools to figure out the best way to get somewhere, and realized that the ferry service would’ve been very helpful for today’s meeting,” joked Federal Transit Administration Region 2 Administrator Stephen Goodman.
” … The fund will go towards platform and dock improvements that will enable the ferry service into Manhattan. And I should share: I ride the ferry into Manhattan every single day. It’s an incredible way to start a day, it’s an incredible way to end a day.”
Council President Sharon Nadrowski read a statement on the mayor’s behalf, where he reinforced his commitment to making the ferry project a reality.
“The commuter ferry is a game changer for Bayonne and this federal grant is another step forward for our city, towards a brighter future, with millions of [dollars] of new tax revenue and an opportunity for our community to thrive,” she said.
Matt Kopko, a former Republican Assembly candidate in the 31st Legislative District who is now the Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said,
“We often at the federal government see local and state partners aiming to shift as much cost as possible to the federal taxpayer; Bayonne stood up and took real leadership during this process and presented a very responsible application.”
“We’re very happy that Bayonne stood up and stood out during this process.”
Kopko also echoed a key component of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure funding concept, which he announced in February, that would shift a lot of the burden to local and state governments to fund infrastructure projects.
“We’re here celebrating this actually in part because we think Bayonne is setting an example for the rest of the country to follow because when local governments show commitment and leadership and act responsibly in their application in requests for federal funding the federal government is more than glad to support their vision,” Kopko added.
Yesterday, however, the online publication The Hill reported that President Trump’s “legislative framework for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure appears all but dead in Congress”, with the President’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “I don’t know that there will be [an infrastructure bill] by the end of this year.”
Senate Democrats opposed Trump’s overhaul on the grounds that the federal government, and not local and state governments, should be funding the lion’s share of critical infrastructure around the country.
We live streamed the entire event to our Facebook Page, see below: