Date: Dec 03, 2010
Press Release Number: 87-2010
Calls for Third Consecutive Year of Zero Growth In Operating Expenses to Mitigate Impact of Economic Downturn; Reduces Headcount by 200 Positions To Lowest Levels in 40 Years
The Port Authority today released a preliminary $7.2 billion budget for 2011 that calls for a third consecutive year of zero growth in operating expenses and reduces headcount by 200 positions to the lowest level in 40 years.
In response to the economic downturn, which has reduced the Port Authority’s capital capacity, the agency also has taken other measures to control operating costs, including eliminating its helicopter program to save $5 million per year, reducing external consultants to save an additional $14 million per year and modifications of its non-revenue E-ZPass program to save $1.5 million per year.
The fiscal discipline on the operating side of the budget has allowed for $3.9 billion in capital spending – enough to continue the agency’s safety and security programs, to keep priority projects moving forward, and to maintain the agency’s facilities in a state of good repair.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “In these tough economic times, we must be diligent in how we spend the public’s money. That’s why we’ve developed a zero growth operating budget, and taken great care to identify capital projects in the region's best interests.”
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “We continue to hold the line on operating expenses so we can meet our highest capital priorities. Unfortunately, given the severe economic downturn, we have had to make difficult choices to live within our means, which has meant prioritizing certain projects to move forward and deferring others until we have the capacity to pay for them.”
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “This is an austere budget that keeps operating expenses in check, while providing the resources we need to move forward with key transportation projects such as the upgrades to the PATH system and the redevelopment of Newark Liberty International Airport.”
In light of the historic economic recession, activity levels at all Port Authority facilities – aviation passenger volume, container movements, vehicle crossings and PATH ridership – began to drop dramatically in 2008 and further erode in 2009. Despite modest gains in 2010, activity levels remain significantly lower than projections made in January 2008 when the original capital plan was developed. To put this drop in perspective, in 2008 when the original capital plan was sized, the Port Authority projected that 132 million vehicles would use the bistate crossings by 2011. Now, the agency does not expect to reach that level until 2020.
The preliminary 2011 budget provides $2.5 billion in operating expenses, $3.9 billion in capital expenses, $701 million for debt service and $47 million for other expenses, which include purchases of snow equipment and other agency vehicles and major technology equipment.
Major highlights of the Port Authority’s 2011 preliminary operating budget include:
Major highlights of the Port Authority 2011 preliminary capital budget include:
CONTACT: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
John P. Kelly or Steve Coleman, 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 Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Port Authority-Port Jersey 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. The Port Authority is self-sufficient and receives no tax revenues from either state.