FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR PATAKI AND BOROUGH PRESIDENT MOLINARO BREAK GROUND FOR NEW SHIP-TO-RAIL FACILITY ON STATEN ISLAND
For First Time ExpressRail Staten Island Will Provide Rail Access to Howland Hook Marine Terminal
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki and Staten Island Borough President Molinaro today broke ground on ExpressRail Staten Island, a $26 million ship-to-rail facility at the Howland Hook Marine Terminal. As part of a larger initiative to re-establish freight rail service to Staten Island after a 15-year hiatus, this new facility will allow the Staten Island container terminal to transport containerized cargo on and off its property by rail for the first time. The rail facility will be built by Railroad Construction Co. Inc. of New Jersey on a 39-acre parcel on the former Procter & Gamble site. The Port Authority purchased the property in December 2000. When completed in the first quarter of 2006, the ship-to-rail terminal will be able to handle approximately 100,000 containers a year.
"This new facility is a critical link in our efforts to alleviate choking traffic congestion in this area by moving more freight and refuse by rail," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The simple act of taking a percentage of cargo-hauling tractor trailers off of the road eases the burden that drivers, particularly on Staten Island must contend with each day. The benefits to our environment and to our economy are immeasurable, and this project only serves to strengthen the Terminal's strong foothold as a powerhouse in the container shipping industry not only for the Port of New York and New Jersey, but in the United States and world markets as well."
"The Howland Hook Marine Terminal is the state's premier gateway for international cargo, and these investments will further our efforts to attract even more shippers and cargo to this facility," said Governor Pataki. "This project will provide good-paying jobs and economic benefits throughout New York State. It also will take significant numbers of trucks off the road, which will improve air quality."
"After years of effort and support for this project, I am gratified to see the Staten Island freight rail link moving forward," said Borough President Molinaro. "This service will take tens of thousands of trucks off Staten Island's roads. It will not only mitigate traffic congestion but also improve local air quality. Further, the rail link will enhance Staten Island's economy by lowering the cost of doing business with the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, one of the Island's largest employers."
"Accommodating projected growth at our world-class port is an important component of our 10-year strategic plan," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. "If we are to maintain our status as the busiest seaport on the East Coast, we must continue to make this an attractive place to do business. We believe our $450 million investment in rail in New York and New Jersey will greatly enhance our ability to handle more cargo."
"The construction of this rail terminal signals the Port Authority's commitment to greatly improve New York's port infrastructure to enhance the economic benefits that it provides," said Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano. "This project, coupled with the overall redevelopment of this terminal, will add more than $200 million in economic activity to New York City's economy by 2010."
"The Port Authority has maintained a strong commitment to the Howland Hook Container Terminal since it reopened in the mid-1990s," said Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. "In addition to this rail terminal project, we also have invested millions of dollars to expand the facility's berths to handle larger ships, to deepen the harbor channels, and to provide the electrical infrastructure for the installation of new post-Panamax cranes."
"As the operator of this facility, we are thrilled with the commitment made by Governor Pataki and the Port Authority that has allowed us to be here today to break ground for this important project," said James Devine, the president of New York Container Terminal Inc., which operates the Howland Hook facility. "A few years ago, Governor Pataki made a commitment that this facility would have his support to grow and become an integral part of the maritime community in the New York harbor. The governor has kept his commitment."
ExpressRail Staten Island will consist of five tracks that will be linked to the reactivated Staten Island Railroad. Containers will be loaded onto double-stack rail cars and transported via the Staten Island Railroad to the Conrail Main Line in Elizabeth, N.J., which connects to the nation's extensive rail freight network.
In addition to the construction of ExpressRail Staten Island, the Arthur Kill lift bridge is being rehabilitated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The bridge is a critical component to the ExpressRail project, and the work will include an upgrade to a state-of-the-art electrical system and new paint to combat decades of rust on the structure. EDC has also begun construction on the reactivation of the eight-mile Staten Island Railroad, which will provide direct rail service between the industrial businesses on the Travis Branch Line, which runs along Staten Island's western shore, and the national rail freight network. Construction is scheduled for completion in early 2006.
Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Mollie Fullington (Governor) (212) 681-4640
Michael Sherman/Jennifer Nelson (Economic Development Corporation)
Steve Coleman (Port Authority) (212) 435-7777
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