The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's top officer urged Congress to support President Obama's budget proposal to provide $65 million to help the Army Corps of Engineers stay on schedule to finish deepening port channels to 50 feet by 2014.
"With the Harbor Deepening Project over 70 percent complete, this level of funding would keep this critical project on schedule and deliver immediate economic benefits to the local and national economy," said Chris Ward, the port authority's executive director. "This project is a great example of how infrastructure investment can stimulate economic growth, job creation and competitiveness."
The dredging project began in 2004 to deepen channels to accommodate larger ships that will be able to transit the Panama Canal after 2014. The size of ships calling at most port terminals will still be restricted by clearance limitations of the Bayonne Bridge.
The port authority has authorized $1 billion to help pay for raising the bridge's roadway to increase the current 151-foot clearance to 215 feet, but the project won't be finished before 2014.
Ward also urged congressional support of another administration budget proposal to allow airports to increase the passenger facility charge for airport improvements including replacing the central terminal building at LaGuardia Airport.
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