Date: Jan 08, 2009
Press Release Number: 2-2009
Initiative with Borough President Scott Stringer to Increase Public Transparency
In an effort to continue enhancing the agency’s public transparency, the Port Authority today announced a new initiative with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to make public on an annual basis the inspection records and conformance status for all of the agency’s facilities.
The annual report will cover for the first time all Port Authority facilities both in New York and New Jersey, including all of the agency’s airports, bridges, tunnels and terminals, port and PATH facilities, and Port Authority-controlled World Trade Center buildings.
Under this new initiative, the Port Authority - which has a longstanding policy to meet or exceed New York City building and fire code standards - will publish an annual report documenting its code conformance efforts and facility inspection records. The first report will be made public in the first quarter of 2009, and will be posted on the agency’s Web site - www.panynj.gov.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said, “I want to applaud the Port Authority for taking this important step that will ensure not only that their buildings are in conformance with the City’s strict building and safety codes, but that its conformance efforts are transparent to officials and to the public at large.
“This initiative is an important way for us to ensure the public and first responders that the Port Authority has been working diligently to make sure its public facilities conform with applicable building and fire codes and are safe for the hundreds of thousands of people who go through them every year. The Port Authority’s initiative is an example that should be followed by other state, federal and international entities who are technically exempt from city building and safety standards,” Mr. Stringer said.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Annual reporting on our code conformance marks another step in our longstanding efforts to make the business of the Port Authority transparent to the public we serve. It also underscores our foremost
commitment to the safety and security of Port Authority customers and tenants, as well as to first responders who deserve to know that our facilities conform to local building and fire code standards.”
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “We’ve worked diligently with New York City building and fire officials to make sure our buildings are safe, secure and in conformance with all local building and fire codes. Today’s action will allow the public to see what we’ve done so they can track our progress and judge for themselves.”
The Port Authority - a bistate agency created in 1921 by the states of New York and New Jersey - is one of many federal and state agencies in New York that is not legally bound by local building codes. However, over the years, the agency has reached agreements with New York City to meet or exceed its building and fire codes. Similar exemptions apply to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, federal buildings such as U.S. courthouses, and foreign embassies and consulates, including the United Nations headquarters.
The annual report to be released by the Port Authority will provide a detailed overview of the agency’s policy and process with an interactive facility map that allows users to see inspection schedules for each facility and a list of the construction projects completed by the agency using the code conformance process.
During a project’s design phase, the Port Authority’s Quality Assurance Division reviews all design drawings for adherence to local code. The division interacts with the New York City Department of Buildings on code interpretation issues, and has received written concurrence on major projects.
During the construction phase, the Port Authority’s Quality Assurance Division interacts with the agency’s Construction Management Division to ensure code compliance. The agency’s Chief Engineer will not issue a Certificate of Occupancy until it can be verified that all code issues have been resolved.
Following a building’s construction, Port Authority engineers perform regular inspections of each facility and provide repair recommendations if warranted, which are addressed as quickly as possible.
In addition, the Port Authority has entered into several memorandums of understanding with the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York City Fire Department to reaffirm its commitment to meet, and where appropriate, exceed accepted building and fire code standards.
In November 2004, the Port Authority entered into a World Trade Center redevelopment agreement with the City of New York that states that the Port Authority will comply with all applicable building code requirements of the City of New York for all construction work to be performed by the Port Authority or any of its net lessees at the World Trade Center site.
Manhattan Borough Presidents Office
Dick Riley, 212 669-7085
Carmen Boon, 212 669-3882
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Candace McAdams, 212 435-7777
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Port Authority Auto Marine Terminal; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Greenville Yard-Port Authority Marine Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and is a partner in the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project.