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New York Bridge and Tunnel Will Soon Be More Environmentally Friendly

Drivers at the George Washington Bridge and Holland Tunnel may not notice the change, but lights on those crossings to New York will soon be more environmentally friendly.

And travelers passing through John F. Kennedy International Airport probably will not realize that a Port Authority police building there is getting its power from geothermal energy, a sustainable source.

Those projects, along with the installation of advanced power meters at all Port Authority facilities, were approved Thursday by the bistate agency's board of commissioners.

The total cost is $12.2 million. The agency is self-supporting and does not receive tax revenues from either New Jersey or New York.

"With today's investments, we'll take over 4 million pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide) out of the air each year. This is an important step, but it's still just a beginning. Over the months and years to come, we'll be investing more of our resources to make sure we use less of the world's," agency Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said in a statement.

The George Washington Bridge and Holland Tunnel will be getting LED (light-emitting diode) fixtures, which use less energy and last longer than conventional lights.

Work on the famed "necklace" of lights on the George Washington Bridge is to begin early next year and be completed about midyear and cost $200,000, the agency said. The 156 mercury vapor lights, which last about a year, will be replaced with 156 LED fixtures, which last about 12 years.

At the Holland Tunnel, some 4,000 fluorescent lights, which last less than 1?years, will be replaced by 1,700 LED fixtures, at a cost of $4.5 million, the agency said. Work is to begin in mid-2008 and be done by the end of the year.

The geothermal energy project at the airport is to cost $3.3 million; the agency said it will be the first time a U.S. airport has used such power.

The 3,000 new utility meters will cost $4.2 million and allow instant monitoring of consumption to maximize savings, the agency said.

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