Home News Bayonne News Activists Rally Against $11 Billion NJ Turnpike Expansion in Hudson County

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Activists Rally Against $11 Billion NJ Turnpike Expansion in Hudson County

Activists rally against the $11 billion New Jersey Turnpike expansion project, demanding funds be redirected to public transportation.

Environmental groups and local residents concerned about increased pollution strongly oppose the project.

Key Takeaways
  • Activists demand the halting of the $11 billion NJ Turnpike expansion and reinvestment in public transportation.
  • Concerns were raised about increased pollution and its impact on communities of color.
  • Supporters argue the project will create 25,000 middle-class jobs.

Activists Rally Against NJ Turnpike Expansion Project

A significant protest took place on Tuesday night as activists gathered ahead of a New Jersey Turnpike Authority listening session.

The focus was the first stage of a controversial $11 billion expansion project in Hudson County.

Hosted by the Turnpike Trap Coalition, Empower New Jersey, and local officials, the rally saw strong opposition from environmental groups and residents.

Local Opposition to NJ Turnpike Expansion

Emmanuelle Morgen, representing Hudson County Complete Streets, voiced the concerns of many residents.

Hudson County and Essex County are very transit-dependent, yet we’re putting $11 billion into widening eight miles of a highway that just feeds into our communities and then into the bottleneck that is the Holland Tunnel. We don’t think that makes sense.

Phase 1 of the project includes expanding the Newark Bay Extension with two wider bridges between Bayonne and Newark.

Activists argue this will lead to more cars and increased pollution, particularly affecting communities of color along the 8-mile stretch.

Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, a Newark resident for 20 years and member of the Weequahic Park Association highlighted the pollution issues.

We’re constantly bombarded by air emissions…nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, carbon dioxide, all sorts of particulate matter. We’re just bombarded by it.

Official & Labor Responses to Turnpike Concerns

Lisa Navarro, a supervising engineer for the Turnpike Authority, addressed myths about the project.

“The extension is at the end of its life, and it’s our responsibility as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to address it before something goes wrong.”

Supporters of the project, like Todd Heuer of Hudson County Building Trade, emphasize the job creation aspect.

From beginning to end of this project, it’s 25,000 jobs…they’re middle-class jobs. They’re not giant high-paying jobs. It’s just middle-class jobs for people that live here and just want to make a living.

Project Future and Public Opinion Debate

The Coast Guard, the lead federal agency, will give the project the final approval if it meets environmental standards.

The public comment period, which remains open until July 11, allows residents to voice their opinions.

As the debate continues, a second public forum is scheduled in Bayonne, providing another platform for both supporters and opponents to discuss the project’s implications.

The outcome of these discussions will significantly influence the project’s future, highlighting the ongoing conflict between infrastructure development and environmental preservation.