Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
The U.S. ports of New York and Newark are expected to have a huge surge in cargo and passenger traffic this holiday season as a result of the coronavirus, a top state official said Tuesday.
But despite growing numbers of travelers arriving by plane and car, officials do not expect an immediate outbreak of COVID-19, said Robert Brackett, New Jersey’s top environmental official.
The state also said it will not be forced to divert its own medical supplies from Trenton or the other two New Jersey cities that could be on the front lines of a possible pandemic.
“We have been very proactively engaged with the federal government and state government to make sure New Jersey has adequate supplies in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak,” Brackett wrote in a letter to Trenton Mayor Steven M. Cohen that was made public Tuesday.
In addition, he said, New Jersey, which has already pledged to take $1 billion in federal stimulus money toward its transportation infrastructure plan has been given flexibility to use a substantial amount of that money for public and private transportation projects outside the state’s borders.
“The state is already investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Tri-State corridor,” Brackett wrote, “and a significant amount of the stimulus money can be directed to such projects.”
Brackett said his department was “prepared for a scenario in which New Jersey could have an influx of cases of community acquired COVID-19 within the state,” but that the agency remained on high alert due to the potential spread of other viruses and diseases.
New Jersey is one of the few states to have issued a comprehensive coronavirus plan — the only one in the country.
Brackett said his department had made “intensive efforts to assess the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey, as well as on the