First things first: Toll relief is the top priority
The following editorial appeared in the Staten Island Advance:
Were we the only ones who were struck by the sudden burst of enthusiasm on the part of several borough elected officials about the Port Authority’s plans to raise the Bayonne Bridge? It’s not that we’re opposed to the idea — not by any means. Nor should any elected representatives be opposed. The very survival of the New York Container Terminal at Howland Hook depends on the bridge’s being raised to allow a new generation of super-sized container ships to sail under the Bayonne Bridge and down the Kill van Kull.
It’s just that there’s a first-things-first issue here we’d like to see resolved before the P.A. bridge plan gets an unqualified endorsement.
What about the break on truck tolls that’s absolutely necessary if the New York Container Terminal is to survive? Where does that stand? We keep hearing “Any day now,” or words to that effect, but nothing seems to get done.
Rep. Michael Grimm said, “What good is this [bridge-raising] project to Staten Island if the P.A’s outrageous tolls put our only port out of business? . . . If the P.A. can expedite the Bayonne Bridge project, it can certainly expedite an agreement on commercial toll relief to protect the jobs and businesses of Staten Island.”
He’s got a good point. The raising of the bridge will be good for all the container terminals whose ship traffic uses the Kill van Kull, including NYCT, and that’s good for the region, perhaps. But if the NYCT, which is the third-largest employer in the borough, goes under before the bridge is raised, it would be devastating for Staten Island.