THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY PROPOSES TOLL AND FARE INCREASE TO MEET REGION’S EXTENSIVE TRANSPORTATION AND SECURITY NEEDS

Date: Nov 15, 2007
Press Release Number: 98-2007

Agency Details Updated $29.5 Billion 2007-2016 Capital Plan, Including $3 Billion For New Hudson River Passenger Rail Tunnel, $3.3 Billion For Overhaul of PATH System, $500 Million for Stewart Airport Expansion

Open Process Will Include First-Ever Online Public Forum

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today proposed a toll and fare adjustment for its tunnels, bridges and PATH system to fund $650 million in annual security costs and a nearly $30 billion long-term capital investment program that makes strategic investments in rehabilitating and modernizing agency facilities, easing congestion and reducing overcrowding.

The agency’s Board of Commissioners authorized a series of public hearings on the proposed toll and fare adjustment as a part of the most extensive community outreach process in the agency’s history.

The agency released an adjusted 2007-2016 Capital Plan totaling $29.5 billion which includes new additional investments of $1 billion more for the new Hudson River passenger rail tunnel, bringing the new total to $3 billion; an additional $680 million for PATH to create longer trains on the World Trade Center line; and an additional $350 million for Stewart International Airport redevelopment.

Among other investments, the capital plan will:

Agency officials also detailed rapidly increasing costs. Security expenditures in 2008 will bring the Port Authority’s security spending since 9/11 to more than $3.7 billion. In addition to increased patrols and emergency management capabilities, major Port Authority security projects include:

"Our ambitious plans demonstrate that the Port Authority has returned to its core mission – building and maintaining transportation infrastructure," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. "With road and rail networks already stressed, we must invest now to provide security, maintain our bridges and tunnels, improve mass transit and reduce congestion. An open, transparent process will take place over the coming weeks so the public will have full opportunity to evaluate this proposal before any Board action."

"For too long, this region has lived off transportation investments made decades ago. Now, it is time to pay back the foresight of our predecessors by building for the generations to come," said Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris. "Besides securing our assets and protecting existing infrastructure, we are demonstrating our commitment to a more sustainable region with investments and discounts that will reduce the numbers of cars as well as by offering our first incentives for low-emission vehicles."

GreenPass

Under the current proposal, tunnel and bridge customers using low-emission vehicles with E-ZPass during off-peak hours will pay a $4 toll--no increase above the current off-peak fare.

The Port Authority will be among the first transportation agencies in the nation to implement such a discount.

Toll and Fare Adjustments

To fund increasing security costs and the construction projects in its capital plan, the Port Authority outlined a proposal to adjust tolls and fares to generate additional revenue. The agency last adjusted tolls in March 2001. The prior adjustment to that was in 1991.

The Port Authority was the first entity in the region to incorporate congestion pricing when it adjusted its tunnel and bridge tolls in 2001. The current proposal will further incorporate congestion pricing to encourage off-peak driving, and it contemplates the following:

Open Process

The bistate agency is expected to announce a public hearing schedule within the next week. Hearings will be held in both states. Those who cannot attend one of the hearings will be able to participate in a live online public forum through the agency’s Web site, www.panynj.gov -- the first time the agency has used this method to gather public comment.

Comments on the toll and fare adjustment also may be submitted via the Port Authority’s Web site. Details on the agency’s proposal also can be found on the site.

2008 Budget

The proposed 2008 Port Authority budget totals $5.9 billion. It holds operating expenses flat for the second consecutive year, while devoting significant resources to ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public, allocating $650 million for security initiatives.

It provides $2.3 billion in operating expenses, $2.6 billion in capital expenses, $814 million for debt service, and $173 million for other expenses.

The budget includes funds to increase police patrols on the PATH system, deploy more customer service representatives at the airports, and enhance operations at Stewart Airport, which the Port Authority began operating on November 1.

The spending plan also reflects the elimination of 7 percent of all agency administrative positions this year, and continuation of ongoing-cost control efforts that already have saved the agency more than $500 million.

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 and Stewart International airports; 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.