Press Release Article


Date: Apr 28, 2011
Press Release Number: 21-2011

The George Washington Bridge’s iconic American flag, the largest free-flying flag, will fly on Saturday, April 30 to mark the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a celebration of the bi-state agency’s longstanding commitment to regional transportation and economic investments.

Addressing the Board of Commissioners at today’s monthly meeting, Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward and Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni highlighted the past nine decades of accomplishments in the fields of port commerce, vehicular transportation, aviation, rail transit, bus terminals and commercial development projects. The Port Authority is a major economic engine for the region at a time of slow recovery. Overall, Port Authority facilities now support more than a half-million jobs and $80 billion in annual economic activity throughout the New York and New Jersey region.

With tempers running high between New York and New Jersey over commerce on their shared harbor, on April 30, 1921, the states adopted the compact for a joint Port Authority, which would foster unprecedented cooperation on both sides of the Hudson River for regional waterfront growth. That mission soon expanded to encompass two new modes of 20th century transportation: the automobile and airplane.

Within 20 years of its creation, the Port Authority had taken over the Holland Tunnel and built the George Washington, Goethals, Outerbridge and Bayonne bridges, as well as the first tube of the Lincoln Tunnel. By the end of the 1940s, the Port Authority was in possession of LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International and John F. Kennedy International airports, developing a system that handled approximately 103.5 million fliers in 2010 alone.

The 1950s would see the Port Authority open the bus terminal that bears its name and change the shipping industry forever with creation of cargo containers, bringing speed and automation to unloading vessels. The 1960s and 1970s would witness the agency’s building and opening of the World Trade Center, with the 110-story Twin Towers that revitalized Lower Manhattan and became a universal symbol of New York City.

With a nod to the great achievements of the past, the Port Authority stands ready in the coming years to complete the World Trade Center rebuilding, modernize the PATH rail system and our vast airport system, while also making state-of-the art improvements to our port facilities and network of bridges and tunnels.

“The 90th anniversary is a time to reflect on the founders’ vision for the Port Authority as an engine of economic growth in the region,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “I will use my tenure to ensure the Port Authority continues to make the right investments to keep people and goods moving efficiently and to increase our focus on the security of our customers and facilities.”

“Ninety years ago, the Port Authority’s creation revolutionized the way transportation projects are financed and built in this country,” said Mr. Ward. “As one of the world’s first regional transportation authorities to span state lines, the Port Authority put our resources to work for the people of New York and New Jersey. And as we enter our tenth decade, the agency continues to keep the region moving while supporting economic growth.”

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the premier economic growth and transportation agency on the planet,’’ said Mr. Baroni. “Our success has been fueled by the tireless efforts of generations of Port Authority employees who work hard every day to keep our region moving.”

In 2010, the Port Authority’s six bridge and tunnel crossings accommodate 121 million eastbound cars, buses and trucks. Its port facilities handled more than $175 billion in cargo. The PATH rail system moves 250,000 daily riders. The World Trade Center construction spending will mean 26,000 jobs during the build-out of all projects.

In addition to flying the flag and lighting the George Washington Bridge on Saturday, the Port Authority soon will post a photo history gallery on the agency’s Web site, while also displaying photo exhibits at various facilities throughout the remainder of the year. An in-house video of Port Authority employees also will be created to mark the agency’s milestone.

Also today, the Board took the following actions:

CONTACT: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Ron Marsico, 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.