The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey launched four webcams last month that will allow residents and motorists to track the construction progress of the new Goethals Bridge, the $1.5 billion public-private partnership project that will replace the existing 86-year old bridge connecting New York’s Staten Island with Elizabeth, New Jersey.
It’s not a bad idea to keep citizens informed about how the project is progressing. However, we do find it strange that the state agency responsible for the project thought it necessary to update the images every 15 minutes.
It’s probably a good thing the Port Authority didn’t install cameras at the 131-acre site it bought in the city of Bayonne back in 2010 for $235 million. The land, located on the city’s waterfront, was supposed to be used for expanding port facilities.
Four years later nothing has been done to develop the property, according to a recent New York Times article. Instead it seems the reason behind the transaction was more about helping New Jersey Governor Chris Christie avoid bailing out the city of Bayonne, which at the time was on the brink of bankruptcy, and keeping his promise to not raise taxes.
Rather than pointing cameras at slow-moving building projects, perhaps what the public would value more is a genuinely transparent agency capable of running a tender process that cannot be subjected to political meddling.