Jersey City Council wants impact study from NJTA on $10.7B turnpike expansion

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The Jersey City Council wants to see an environmental impact study from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) on the $10.7 billion Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension, as well as asking the U.S. Coast Guard to reject their draft environmental assessment.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

” … The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) mandates that a federal agency must conduct an environmental review of major projects such as the Project and Bridge expansion,” the resolution, where the primary sponsor is Ward E Councilman James Solomon, says.

“If the review finds that the project will not have a significant environmental impact, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be issued, allowing the project to proceed. If it finds that it will have a significant impact, it must then require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).”

While the NJTA has no obligation to oblige the council, the majority of the nine-member governing body is on board, therefore the resolution is expected to pass at Wednesday’s 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall, located at 280 Grove St.

“The Jersey City Municipal Council requests the United States Coast Guard to reject the Environmental Assessment prepared by the NJ Turnpike Authority and require the preparation of a full environmental impact statement for the Newark Bay Bridge that takes into account NJTA’s plan to demolish and expand the entire Turnpike extension between Newark and Jersey City,” the local legislation also says.

The existing Environmental Assessment is fundamentally flawed in numerous critical ways, the resolution says,  including inadequate consideration for meeting the stated need of improving the long-term integrity of the structures and improving mobility between the ports.

The measure also cites a lack public input, failing to consider the cumulative impacts,
failing to invest in alternatives that reconnect and restore communities, citing federal law, as well as failing to acknowledge the impact on disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The resolution will be voted on approximately 24 hours after the NJTA hosts what they have deemed a public information center on the project at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, located at 140 Martin Luther King Drive, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Solomon, Council President Joyce Watterman, a candidate for mayor, and Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, will be part of a rally against the project at the Bethune Center at 5:30 p.m.

“I am deeply concerned about the adverse impacts the New Jersey Turnpike expansion will have on our vibrant community, inciting worsening traffic and environmental hazards that can jeopardize the safety and well-being of our residents and families,” Fulop said in a statement.

“I hope our collective efforts will urge the Coast Guard to conduct its own independent study so that we can protect our community and ensure these billions of taxpayers dollars are used appropriately.”

When the NJTA hosted their PIC at the Woodrow Wilson School in Bayonne in May, protesters also made their presence felt beforehand.

“The state’s wasteful environmental disaster of a plan to expand the Turnpike would have devastating consequences for the quality of life in Ward E,” added Solomon.

“I’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder with advocates across the state in opposing this plan, which would increase pollution and congestion in Ward E and all across the city even as NJ Transit’s crisis of delays, which have still not been addressed, force even more commuters onto our roads. The only solution to this crisis is not by expanding a highway further, but by using those billions of dollars to improve our rail infrastructure. I hope the state sees fit to change course.”

Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh, Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore, and Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera.

“It makes no sense to widen lanes that go to the same place. It’s not going to decrease congestion. If anything, it’s going to increase it,” noted Gilmore.

“The environmental impact alone is cause for concern, for Bayonne and Jersey City. There are so many other things that we could be doing with these funds. It’s a huge waste of money.”

 

Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, and Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am sure the cadre of luxury developers who have been actively encouraged by Mayor Fulop to massively overbuild Newport and Jersey City have never been asked to submit to a real environmental impact study.

  2. I don’t know about the Jersey City Council, but the mayor does not have a driver’s license, doesn’t have a car; sits in back of his official van looking at his laptop. He has no idea of what drivers have to go through everyday, such as waiting for stop lights to change, and looking out for pedestrians and motorbikes. The metropolitan area is expanding in the area of people and automobiles and Jersey City is not a point on the map anymore and it’s population living in isolation, but an integral part of the critical road and rail system that has served the United States for many years. We need to get rid of mayor Fulop and his counsel immediately and replace them with people who have the integrity stop the environmental study and begin to expand the city’s roads and the turnpike. McGreevey will be another Fulop Clone and we can get rid of him also. Jersey City politicians are liberal/progressive and Marxist Democrats, just like Joe Biden and they follow an agenda, and not to do exactly what has to be done. We in New Jersey have to get rid of Murphy and elect a republican governor!

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