A certain cable news channel struck a surprisingly positive tone on a major public works project in the New York metro area — the Bayonne Bridge, which authorities want to revamp to allow larger cargo ships into New York Harbor. The project has proponents in government, business, and now…..FOX News.
The new bridge just happens to span from the state where rising Republican star Gov. Chris Christie is chief executive, New Jersey, to the Staten Island district represented by Congressman Michael Grimm, a prominent GOP representative of New York City.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has asked for fast track approval by the federal government so that construction can begin next year.
Fox Host Martha MacCallum on Friday extolled the virtues of spending the one billion taxpayer dollars the project would cost — namely the 2,700 people it would employ “predominantly iron workers and construction workers.” Fox reporter David Lee Miller then went into a string of facts that would even make any stimulus-supporting member of the Obama Administration proud.
“You know the Port of New York and New Jersey employs about 280,000 people, that is personal income of about $12 billion if not more every year,” he said. “And those jobs, because of this project are now going to be preserved. More than that, you know, Martha they say that when the work on the bridge is completed and the larger cargo ships can enter the area they expect that the volume capacity of cargo to double, so you will see even more employment in the region. The deputy head of the Port Authority here said incredibly this is a project that has absolutely no opposition.”
Fox didn’t mention Christie or Grimm by name — nor where the money comes from: New York metro commuters. The Port Authority is financially self-sustaining and raises cash through tolls, fares, rentals and other user charges, while the funding for projects like the bridge are “raised on the basis of the Port Authority’s own credit rating.”
“The Bayonne Bridge is the most critical project, and we have $1 billion to do it the cheapest way we could do it. Somebody’s got to pay for it,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson was quoted as saying by NJBIZ about tolls rising. “All of these (projects) cost money at a time when revenues are down. All we can do is raise tolls.”
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.