Labor leader slams opposition to $4.7B Turnpike proposal: ‘We live in the real world’


Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative Director Mark Longo is slamming the recent opposition to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s $4.7 billion proposal, stating “we live in the real world” that requires improvements to the Holland Tunnel.

Inset photo of Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative Director Mark Longo. Background photo screenshot via YouTube.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“We are deeply troubled by the recent resolutions slammed through by the Hoboken and Jersey City municipal councils that oppose the desperately needed widening of the New Jersey Turnpike extension,” he said in a statement.

“We all wish to wave the magic wand so traffic would disappear, pollution would not exist, and unicorns would safely stroll down Washington or Grove Street.”

On Wednesday, the Hoboken City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the project, and the Jersey City Council has eight of their nine members sponsoring a virtually identical resolution next week.

While the majority of speakers at the past two NJTA Board of Commissioners meetings projects, it has garnered some labor support and Longo hammered home why he feels that way.

“Unfortunately, we live in the real world and over 100,000 vehicles travel through the Holland Tunnel daily. Goods, services, employees, and tourists all use this vital economic highway. Road expansion will reduce congestion and pollution from vehicles idling as well as grow both the local and regional economies,” he continued.

“The city council members have, through formal action, now demanded that we combat the traffic and congestion by opposing the expansion – which will only cause more traffic, more pollution and more vehicles trying to cut through local roads. This is the very issue an expansion would solve.”

He further stated that the Operating Engineers, Local 825, their contractors, and other trades and suppliers, are looking forward to the completed project.

The three-phase proposal would begin by widening the extension to four lanes in both directions.

From there, they would widen 14A to Columbus Drive in Jersey City to three lanes, while the third and final phase would replace elevated structures from Columbus Drive to Jersey Avenue.

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  1. Is he fighting as hard for Jersey City residents to work on the project so they can enjoy the same degraded environment as the rest of us who live here? Or will we see an influx of out of state plates from guys who will hit the road once it’s done?

  2. Longo has to advocate for his interests, but he’s obviously not well read on what causes traffic. Widening highways induces more people to drive on those roads, not less. the holland tunnel isn’t expanding, so it just moves the pinch point slightly further up the road. I drive this route every single day and I don’t want to see the expansion.

    But, it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. Let Longo advocate for his interests, and let the people of Hudson County advocate for theirs.