Press Release Article


Date: Jul 27, 2006
Press Release Number: 50-2006

The Port Authority today agreed to contribute nearly $600,000 to help fund restoration projects in Jamaica Bay, as part of the agency’s continuing effort to be good environmental stewards in areas where it operates transportation facilities.

At its monthly meeting, the Board of Commissioners authorized an agreement that will transfer approximately $593,000 from an existing account established for environmental projects to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which will help implement Jamaica Bay restoration projects. The Port Authority will be part of a committee that will determine which projects are funded.

The money is part of a 1993 settlement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to mitigate the impact of fuel storage tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The money was earmarked for projects in Jamaica Bay or nearby areas. Funds were spent in 1997 to upgrade Baisley Pond Park in Queens, and in 2002 to investigate the causes of intertidal marsh loss in Jamaica Bay.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The Port Authority has clearly become a leader in its commitment to balance its needs to operate major regional transportation facilities with its goal of being environmental stewards. We have been key participants in helping to shape a plan for Jamaica Bay’s future, and we recently partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers on a project to restore the Elders Point wetlands area in the bay. We are working equally hard to address environmental issues at all of our facilities, and in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Jamaica Bay has been a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for generations, serving as a refuge for more than 80 species of fish. As the operator of JFK, our contribution will help environmentalists take the actions they believe are needed to better protect the bay’s water quality and wetlands from ongoing development in the area.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “This Board’s action comes at a time when environmentalists and others are developing a plan critical to the bay’s long-term future. Our substantial contribution will assist the City of New York in developing and implementing strategies to improve the bay’s water quality and preserve its disappearing salt marshes.”

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation issued a request for proposals for restoration projects that could be performed in Jamaica Bay. A committee composed of representatives of the Port Authority, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hudson River Foundation will evaluate the proposals.

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 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; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container 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 financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.