The Port Authority today reported that activity levels at its crossings and PATH system were down significantly during the first half of this year.
The declines are due primarily to the economic recession, including job losses on Wall Street and throughout the New York-New Jersey region, as well as the global financial downturn that is impacting everything from work trips to tourism.
During the first half of 2009, these impacts were experienced at both the bridge and tunnel crossings and on the PATH system:
- PATH ridership declined 3.5 percent - from 37 million riders during the first six months of 2008 to 35.7 million riders during the same period in 2009.
- At the Port Authority’s six bistate crossings, traffic dropped 3.1 percent, from 61.3 million vehicles to 59.4 million vehicles, with the Lincoln Tunnel getting hit the hardest with a 5 percent decline - from 10.4 million vehicles during the first six months of 2008 to 9.9 million vehicles during the same period in 2009.
- Truck traffic, which generates the most toll revenue for the Port Authority, declined at double-digit levels. Truck traffic was down 11.2 percent, from 4.2 million during the first six months of 2008 to 3.8 million during the first six months of 2009. The loss of truck traffic cost the Port Authority $3.6 million alone during the first half of 2009.
Despite the continuing decline in activity levels, the agency said its overall fiscal condition remained sound thanks to the cost-cutting measures the agency has instituted to ensure a zero-growth operating budget in anticipation of the economic downturn. In addition, much of the Port Authority’s revenue stems from stable leases and fees.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “National and local economic trends are continuing to impact activity at our transportation facilities. We will continue to scrutinize our budget closely for ways to cut costs and make sure we're focusing our limited resources on critical transportation projects.”
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “The Port Authority is not recession-proof and these numbers prove that out. That is why we must continue to make tough spending decisions to ensure that our limited public resources are maximized for priority public projects.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Candace McAdams 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; 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.