Date: Feb 16, 2011
Press Release Number: 7-2011
Budget proposes necessary funding for on-time harbor dredging completion, proposes increased ability for airports to invest in critical infrastructure improvements
Following the release of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget proposal, Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward issued the following statement in support of the proposed $65 million to ensure on-time completion of the New York and New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project in 2014, and the proposal to allow airports to increase the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) for airport improvements.
“With the Harbor Deepening Project over 70 percent complete, this level of funding would keep this critical project on schedule and deliver immediate economic benefits to the local and national economy. This project is a great example of how infrastructure investment can stimulate economic growth, job creation and competitiveness.
“The Port Authority operates the busiest airport system in the country and we expect the number of people we serve annually to grow to 130 million people in the next 10 years. With the budget’s proposed cuts to the federal Airport Improvement Program, the President’s proposal to allow for an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge is an essential step to making certain we can continue to invest in critical airport improvements that will increase safety and decrease delays, like replacing the outdated Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport. The President’s proposal shifts the cost for these airport improvements from the taxpayer to those who use our airports. In contrast to additional charges levied by airlines to grow their revenue, every cent of the PFC goes directly back into the airport for necessary improvements.
“The funding of the Harbor Deeping project and the PFC increase are key priorities as the Port Authority works to meet the region’s growing transportation and infrastructure needs and help our nation compete. We encourage Congress to maintain these priorities as it considers the President’s budget.”
The proposed FY 2012 Budget includes $65 million in U.S. Army Corps of Engineer funding, which will ensure on-time completion of the New York and New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project in 2014 that could yield first-year national economic benefits in the range of $140 million. The project was started in 2004 and will deepen the Port of New York and New Jersey to 50 feet to accommodate the newer, larger ships of the global fleet.
The proposed FY 2012 Budget also proposes allowing airports to increase PFC charges. At a time when the President and Congress have called for significant cuts in the federal Airport Improvement Program, increasing the current PFC cap from $4.50 to $7.00 would create the necessary flexibility for airports to continue investing in the critical improvements that will increase airport safety and capacity and reduce delays. The cap was last increased in 2000 and, when factoring in construction inflation, is worth just $2.51, almost half of what it once was. The PFC increase requires Congressional action to include it in FAA Reauthorization legislation.
CONTACT: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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.