Bayonne Assemblyman Chiappone casts only vote against raising bridge
Friday, February 26, 2010
BY CHARLES HACK
TRENTON - The state Assembly passed a resolution yesterday urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to solve the Bayonne Bridge's height problem.
The bridge has to be raised or replaced or it will be impossible for the new super-sized container ships to reach Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.
The abundance of these large cargo ships is expected to explode once the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in the next few years.
The resolution, which was passed 74-1 with four non-voters, urges the Port Authority to design and pay for a solution to the height problem.
Of the Hudson County Assembly members, Charles Mainor and Joan Quigley of Jersey City, Ruben Ramos of Hoboken, and Vincent Prieto of Secaucus, all Democrats, voted for the resolution.
Caridad Rodriquez, D-West New York, was one of four Assembly members who didn't vote.
"Since almost half our goods come to this part of the United States by ship, we're going to see consumer prices jump up for all sorts of important items," Quigley said.
Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone, D-Bayonne, was the sole vote against the resolution.
Chiappone argues that any elevation of the bridge would involve extending the span's ramp, which would result in knocking down homes and tearing up neighborhoods.
Chiappone believes the Port Authority should look into alternatives such as expanding Port Jersey, which is in Jersey City and ships can reach without crossing under the Bayonne Bridge.
"While it may be all very well for the region to raise or replace the Bayonne Bridge, or build a tunnel, there is not going to be anything positive for the City of Bayonne," Chiappone said.
Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said the bi-state agency has commissioned a $10 million study to determine how best to address "navigational issues" posed by larger ships.
An identical bill sponsored by Sandra B Cunningham, D-Jersey City, and Nicholas Sacco, D-North Bergen, is being considered in the state Senate.