Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ, 13th Dist.) knows that sometimes you have to see it to believe it, so he invited Representative Jim Oberstar, Chairman of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 to visit the district. Congressman Sires, along with Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy hosted a daylong tour of Hudson County's infrastructure needs for the key member of Congress
"I am honored Chairman Oberstar decided to join us for a tour that offered a truly three-dimensional perspective on the needs of Hudson County and showcased its unique role in the success of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area," said Congressman Sires.
Sires, DeGise and Healy were joined by Kris Kolluri NJ Commissioner of Transportation, Anthony Coscia Chairman PA NY/NJ, Richard Sarles Executive Director NJ Transit and Hudson County State Senator's Nicholas Sacco, Brian P Stack and Sandra Bolden Cunningham.
The tour began at the County's southern tip in Bayonne and included a visit to the 8th Street and 22nd Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) Stations. The leaders then boarded the HBLR to the Exchange Place Light Station in Jersey City where they held a press conference discussing the transportation and infrastructure needs of Hudson County. Emphasis was on the extension of the light rail in Jersey City and North Hudson, on improvements needed to several bridges and major road networks throughout Hudson County and the ARC Tunnel (Access to the Region's Core) project. After the press conference, the leaders rode the HBLR to the Westside Ave Station and discussed Jersey City's proposed Rt. 440 extension and rode north to visit stations in Union City and North Bergen to discuss the northern extension to Secaucus and the Meadowlands Sports Complex/ Xanadu Entertainment Center.
"Chairman Oberstar saw firsthand how effectively Hudson County converts transportation and infrastructure investment into economic and community redevelopment," said County Executive Thomas DeGise.
Mayor Healy further added, "Mass transportation has played a vital role in the development of Jersey City and Hudson County, and our city would not be what it is today without the Light Rail along our waterfront. This system has spurred the development of more than 10,000 new housing units, created thousands of jobs and increased property value in excess of $5 billion."
"In this period of financial turmoil, we can create jobs and ensure New Jersey's future economic vitality by investing in our transportation infrastructure," said Commissioner Kris Kolluri. "Congressman Oberstar's visit to New Jersey reflects his dedication to improving the nation's aging infrastructure and supporting critical transportation projects in our region."
"This visit also underscores the national importance of the ARC tunnel project, which will significantly expand the region's mass transit capacity and reduce congestion on our trans-Hudson crossings," said Chairman Anthony Coscia. "
"We are thankful for the leadership of Congressman Sires who has been a true champion for transit investments on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee," said Executive Director Richard Sarles. "With record high ridership, New Jersey's transportation network is benefiting from these investments, and we appreciate Chairman Oberstar's interest in seeing our system firsthand."
Representative Sires serves as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On the Transportation Committee he serves on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. Prior to entering the House in 2007, he served as mayor of West New York, New Jersey and as the Speaker of the General Assembly of the New Jersey State Legislature.