Debt controversy affects S.I. commuters

July 25, 2011 11:19AM

Goethals Bridge

While the fallout from the debt ceiling could eventually affect all corners of the United States, for now it is definitely impacting the 71,200 drivers that travel between Staten Island and Elizabeth, N.J. According to the New York Post, $500 million in federal loan guarantees that the Port Authority earmarked for the $1.5 billion reconstruction of the Goethals Bridge was cut from the Obama administration’s 2012 budget.

That would jeopardize the 2017 completion date for a replacement to the 83-year-old, 7,109 foot bridge, whose narrow lanes and lack of shoulder have caused frequent traffic jams. The bridge is said to have 10 years left in its lifespan. The Port Authority would not comment to the Post on the situation.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority decided to reject the least expensive bidder for the reconstruction project, China State Construction Engineering Corp, last month and is weighing bids from three teams, including one with a U.S.-based component. [Post]