Press Release Article


TRAFFIC CONTINUES TO DECLINE AT PORT AUTHORITY
TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES IN THIRD QUARTER OF 2009

Date: Nov 17, 2009
Press Release Number: 142-2009

Activity levels at the Port Authority’s six bistate crossings and PATH rapid-transit system continued to decline during the first nine months of 2009.


The declines are due primarily to the economic recession, including job losses on Wall Street and throughout the New York and New Jersey region, which affects commutation, and the global financial downturn, which impacts the region’s level of travel and tourism.


During the first nine months of 2009, these impacts were experienced at both the bridge and tunnel crossings and on the PATH system:

  • At the Port Authority’s six bistate crossings, traffic dropped 2.1 percent - from 93.1 million vehicles in the first nine months of 2008 to 91.2 million vehicles during the same period in 2009.  The Holland and Lincoln tunnels accounted for approximately half of the traffic declines, reflecting continued economic downturn and job losses in Manhattan.  The Lincoln Tunnel - a primary commuter crossing into midtown Manhattan - reported a 4 percent drop during the first nine months of 2009.

  • Truck traffic, which generates the most toll revenue for the Port Authority - declined by 10.4 percent.  The decline in truck traffic is a direct reflection of the continued economic downturn, evidenced by reduced consumer spending and reluctance by manufacturers to replenish existing inventories.  Usually, by midyear, truck volumes begin to increase as retail and manufacturing outlets place orders for holiday shipments.  However, throughout 2009, truck traffic has continued its downward trend.  The loss of truck traffic cost the Port Authority $20 million during the first nine months of 2009.

  • At the Port Authority's major airports, traffic is down 6.4 percent during the first nine months of 2009, including a drop in domestic travel of 6.9 percent and a decrease of 5.2 percent in international travel.

  • PATH ridership declined 4 percent - from 56.4 million riders during the first nine months of 2008 to 54.1 million during the same period in 2009.

Despite the continuing decline in activity levels, the Port Authority’s overall fiscal condition remains sound due to numerous cost-cutting measures the agency has taken in anticipation of the economic decline, including the implementation of a zero-growth operating budget, no staff increases, and prioritization of its long-term capital program in the context of the new economic and fiscal realities.


Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “These latest activity levels show the continued weakness in our economy.  As we look ahead, our focus will be on controlling costs and making sure we invest our resources on vital transportation projects that will support the region's economic activity.”


Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “The Port Authority is not recession proof and our numbers are down across the board.  That is why we must continue to cut costs and prioritize projects to live within our means.”


CONTACT:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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 Port Authority Auto Marine Terminal; 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 and is a partner in the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project.


 


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