Hoboken officials are praising NJ Transit’s decision today to scrap funding for a gas power plant in Kearny in favor of an $88 million Long Slip Canal Project in Hoboken.

The Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement project will allow NJ Transit to operate train service longer and recover more quickly from storm events.  According to a press release from the transit agency, “The project will modify the Long Slip — a 2,000-foot former barge canal adjacent to the Hoboken Terminal Yard — to eliminate it as a conduit for flood water.  Long Slip was affected by the surge created by Superstorm Sandy, contributing to the inundation of Hoboken Terminal and the adjacent Hoboken Yard.”

The project will fill the canal to an elevation above the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) base flood elevation.  Six new rail tracks will be constructed on the filled area to serve three high-level, ADA-accessible boarding platforms.

The elevated position of tracks and platforms will allow for the rapid recovery of commuter rail services to and from Hoboken Terminal and its associated Hudson Bergen Light Rail system (HBLR) and ferry services, while the main transit terminal and yard infrastructure are being restored following a storm, and the continuation of services when the terminal and yard are taken out of service in advance of an impending storm.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla stated, “I am grateful for the many environmental activists, led locally by Liz Ndoye, who successfully lobbied NJ Transit and the State to abandon the placement of a fossil-fuel power plant in Kearny, which would have caused havoc on our local environment.  Instead, these funds will be reallocated for resiliency and infrastructure improvements, including here in Hoboken. As it relates to NJ Transit, while we will always speak out when it adversely impacts residents, such as the recent 15% rate hikes, it is important to applaud the agency when leadership gets it right. And nixing the Kearny power plant and reallocating funds to help prevent flooding at Hoboken Terminal will provide critical, long-term benefits to Hoboken and Jersey City.”

Representatives of the New Jersey Legislature’s 32 District, of which Hoboken is a part of, strongly applauded today’s announcement by NJ Transit.

“Building a new dirty energy plant in the middle of a densely populated environmental justice community didn’t make sense,” said Senator Raj Mukherji, Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, who has vocally opposed the Kearny plant since it was first proposed.  “I applaud NJT’s leadership for investing instead in renewable energy alternatives and appreciate the dedication of funding to fill the Hoboken Long Slip canal, which will enhance transportation efficiency, alleviate congestion, help mitigate flooding and the effects of climate change, and create backup capacity for emergency rail service.”

“I’m very proud to have worked with NJ TRANSIT in my first days in office to secure $88 million for the crucial Long Slip canal project that will have tremendous benefits for Hoboken and the surrounding communities, including Jersey City,” said Assemblyman John Allen. “This crucial infrastructure project will provide important protections from rising sea levels due to climate change, as well as make the essential Hoboken transit hub better able to operate during storms.  I look forward to continuing to work with NJ Transit on a wide variety of issues as we push for improved mass transit in Hudson County and throughout the state.”

Finally, Assemblywoman Jessica Ramirez continued, “This Long Slip canal project will play a vital role in mitigating flooding by effectively managing stormwater runoff, reducing the risk of inundation in vulnerable areas. This sustainable infrastructure project not only enhances flood resilience but will pave the way for job-creating economic development.”

To read the official NJ Transit announcement of funding for critical resiliency projects including at Hoboken Terminal, click the shaded area above.