It's now official: USS New Jersey coming to Camden
By ARON PILHOFER
Gannett State Bureau
PHILADELPHIA - The 30-day window for Congress to overturn the Navy's decision closed over the weekend, meaning it's now official: The Battleship New Jersey is going to Camden.
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., made the announcement during a news conference Monday about 100 yards from the ship's temporary berth in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
He was joined by Rep. James Saxton, R-N.J., and others involved in the effort. They linked hands and raised their arms in a gesture of victory in their battle to bring the ship to South Jersey.
Until a few months ago, the momentum seemed to be with a competing application in Bayonne, the site selected by the official state Battleship Commission.
But a South Jersey coalition of business, labor and political leaders - the Home Port Alliance - pressed on and submitted its Camden proposal.
The Navy chose the Camden site in January, beginning the official congressional review period of 30 session days.
Last month, Reps. Marge S. Roukema, R-N.J., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., called for a review by the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm.
Menendez has also asked the Navy's inspector general to investigate, claiming "political persuasion" might have played a role in the ruling.
The reviews' findings will not affect the outcome: Only an act of Congress could have overturned the Navy's decision - and that deadline ended at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.