According to a press release from NY Waterway, company president and founder Arthur Imperatore addressed the NJ Transit Board of Directors during their meeting on Dec. 13 about the company’s newly-purchased land on Hoboken’s waterfront.
The company has faced a backlash from residents and town officials who have spoken out against the former Union Dry Dock site becoming a ferry repair and maintenance facility. They would rather see the property turned into parkland.
NJ Transit has stated that they may purchase the land then lease it back to NY Waterway, which would still use the land as planned.
The city has authorized condemnation proceedings to acquire the property but ownership by a state agency would nullify the city’s ability to do so.
According to the press release Imperatore said, “The UDD location had long been viewed by us and various leaders of NJT as the only logical, ideally positioned geographic location that is available to us. There are no other alternatives possible between Nyack, NY, and Bayonne, NJ. Boat maintenance, dispatch, crew control, fueling and all aspects of seamanship must be from a central location and the UDD location is in the center of our operating map, equidistant to the north and south areas which we serve.”
He added, “Efficiency and control are essential for orderly dispatch on daily assignments. Moving boats into position for service can be very costly, time-consuming and disruptive to the quality of our service, hence, we strive to create the most efficient conditions possible. UDD will afford us the opportunity to create a paradigm of a ferry maintenance base for decades to come. Should ownership change by reason of the takeover of the property by NJT and the state of NJ, this will always serve as the most ideal and logical base between the Weehawken ferry terminal and the Hoboken train station. This location will protect the long-term interests of the public, regardless of who the ferry operator is, thereby protecting the enormous public investment already having been made in those two trans-Hudson locations and the future of the trans-Hudson system.”
He said that he believes the transit system will potentially be disrupted in the near future due to renovations and rehabilitations of rail lines and railroad tunnels. “Ferries are the only alternative to provide a safety valve and this factor has been recognized by NJT for many years, along with the [Port Authority].”
“At this time, we are strongly confirmed as a regional public asset, essential to the public interest, supplementing the public mass transit systems in place presently and as they may be later expanded,” Imperatore said. “We have a team of perfectionists that come to work daily to do their best to uphold the highest traditions of customer service and safety and our record so speaks. UDD is essential to its continuance.”