The Bayonne City Council voted to accept the pass-through grant at its May 22 meeting, noting that it will significantly enhance operations at Global—which has been taken over by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—and would help remove a significant amount of truck traffic from local roadways.
Global is currently undergoing a $350 million upgrade that will allow the newest and largest container ships to unload prior to the raising of the Bayonne Bridge.
The facility is in the process of expanding its operations into the former Greenville rail yards, which the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey purchased in 2007.
The grant not only will allow the terminal to take more cargo but also develop a system for unloading ships. Cargo will be put directly onto train cars, a move officials say will reduce truck traffic on local highways.
The TIGER program has funded projects in 24 U.S. ports under the Obama administration. Steve Gallo, Bayonne business administrator, said Global worked closely with the City of Bayonne to obtain this grant, last year appearing before the City Council as part of the application process.
The enhancement of the rail facility will be a boon to customers of the expanded Global facility, scheduled to open in 2014. The terminal will feature new container-handling technology that will achieve higher efficiency while improving safety and security for the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), AFL-CIO workforce. The technologically advanced marine terminal will also improve the competitiveness of the Port of New York and New Jersey with its ability to handle the largest container vessels.
Reduced use of trucks will also reduce pollution in communities where people live and work. TIGER funds will be used to procure two double-cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes, which will load and unload double-stack rail cars in the 32-car yard.
At Global, the existing 100-acre marine container terminal is being expanded an additional 70 acres. The existing berths will be modernized, and two additional berths will be added. With 50- foot water depth at its new berths, Global Terminal will be able to handle the largest container vessels in the world.
The terminal-development project is expected to create 250 construction-related jobs over the next three years. It will generate new high-technology longshoremen positions and contribute significantly to the more than $6.4 billion in additional personal and business income the port is expected to generate from capital investments through 2017. It will ultimately create 50 new permanent well-paying, advanced longshoremen positions annually.
Gallo said the funding would go for a variety of projects, including track improvements.
“We started to work with Global about a year ago to support the modernization of the facility,” Gallo said. “This would improve the efficiency of the port.”
He said this funding came with strong support from U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Rep. Albio Sires.
“As the representative of one of the busiest ports on the East Coast, I am proud that the City of Bayonne is receiving this federal grant funding, which will create hundreds of new jobs in my district,” said Sires. “This grant is vital to improving economic opportunity to the region, and New Jerseyans very much appreciate this significant award.”
This comes after the city entered an agreement with the Port Authority that will have the Port Authority paying the city $1.5 million in lieu of taxes for two properties in Bayonne, a warehouse on the edge of the former Military Ocean Terminal, and the Bayonne portion of Global.
PILOT program expanded to multi-unit projects
In other business, the council voted to approve two ordinances that would allow multi-dwelling new construction to take advantage of the city’s payment in lieu of taxes program (PILOT.) One ordinance would benefit a project about to start construction on JFK Boulevard. The other ordinance would allow future developers of larger projects to opt into a program that has been available to one- and two-family homeowners for upgrades for the last five years. Under this program, new development would get a tax break as an incentive to construct in Bayonne. It would pay 20 percent of taxes on a property the first year, an additional 20 percent each year, and full taxes by year five. The city adopted this program for existing one- and two-family homes about five years ago to encourage homeowners to improve buildings that had become run down over time.
“By allowing developers of multi-unit projects to use this, we are encouraging development to come to Bayonne that might not otherwise come here,” said Councilman Joe Hurley. Councilman Ray Greaves said the project on JFK Boulevard was a welcome addition to the Third Ward and gateway area to the city, building on a lot that had been vacant for many years.
The City Council also agreed to review residents’ natural-gas usage to pave the way for a possible purchase consortium that could provide residents with an overall lower cost on gas for heating and cooking.
Gallo said the state allows municipalities to bundle the total use in the city in order to market to a bidder that would provide gas at a lower rate than what residents are currently paying.
“In some cases, this could be a significant savings,” Gallo said, “as much as 20 percent.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.