Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY COMMISSIONERS NAME INTERNATIONAL CONSULTING AND ADVISORY FIRMS TO ASSIST IN AGENCY-WIDE REVIEW

Date: Nov 29, 2011
Press Release Number: 143-2011

Special Committee selects firms to assist in complete review of bi-state agency

The Special Committee of the Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced the selection of two leading consulting and financial advisory firms, Navigant Consulting, Inc. and Rothschild Inc., which will assist them in their continuing top-to-bottom review of the agency. The committee, created at the direction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been charged with a complete review of the agency, including its past and current governance, management and financial practices, and its capital projects and spending including a focus on the World Trade Center site.

“The selection of these two firms underscores the board’s commitment to a complete and thorough review of this agency,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “We have found some of the leading minds in finance and organizational review and they will work with us to create a new Port Authority. Maintaining our professionalism and adding value through innovative approaches to our capital planning show a respect for the public’s interest in our operations - transparency and professionalism are not mutually exclusive.”

The committee used a competitive selection process to choose the two firms. Navigant will oversee the analysis of the Authority’s 10-year Capital Plan, and the review of its capital projects and spending over the past 10 years, World Trade Center program costs, existing business operations and processes and compensation and benefits. Rothschild will evaluate capitalization alternatives and sources and provide financial advisory services to the Special Committee.


Vice Chairman Scott Rechler said, “We have been working over the last few months on this comprehensive review and with the retention of these firms, we will now have additional expert resources to assist our work. Our governors challenged us to have the most thorough and complete review of the Port Authority ever undertaken, and we will work with Navigant and Rothschild to ensure that those objectives are met.”

Chairman Samson continued, “What we have seen is that this agency needs a thorough review of how it spends money, how it finances its capital plan, how it administers its compensation and benefits, and how it can become an agency that is a model for transparency in dealing with the public. These firms will help us achieve those goals.”

“Today’s challenging economic environment demands that government, businesses, households, and this agency do more with less. One of the purposes of this review is to provide a road map for the Port Authority to serve as an economic engine for growth by creating jobs and ensuring the region remains competitive in the future by more efficiently investing capital to improve and modernize the region’s infrastructure,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler.

The Special Committee of the Board was created in September at the direction of Governors Christie and Cuomo as part of the review of the agency’s recent toll and fare increases. The committee is made up of Board Chairman Samson and Vice Chairman Rechler, joined by Commissioners Jeffrey Lynford and William “Pat” Schuber. The Committee has been reviewing four areas:

  • A comprehensive analysis of the Authority’s 10-year capital plan, in an effort to reduce the size and cost of non-revenue producing projects, reprioritizing existing projects and establishing new priorities, and the most effective way to finance the same.
  • A thorough review of the Authority’s capital projects and spending over the past 10 years to determine the causes and full extent of, as well as potential remedies to address, cost escalation on the Authority’s projects, including a focus on the World Trade Center site.
  • An evaluation of potential alternative revenue and capital sources for the Authority to minimize the impact of toll and fare increases on New York and New Jersey residents and businesses.
  • A top-to-bottom management review of the Authority’s organizational structure and effectiveness, staffing levels, compensation and benefits and financial management, including accounting, audit, financing, consulting and other contractual practices and agreements, all done to further lower costs and increase efficiencies within the Authority.

A first report on the findings and recommendations of the Special Committee will be reported to the Board of Commissioners and Governors Christie and Cuomo in January 2012 and a final report is targeted to conclude by June 30, 2012.

“In light of what we have seen in the recent coverage of the compensation and benefits of the Port Authority, this review is vitally important,” concluded Samson. “With these two independent outside firms, we will be able to present to our Governors and the people of New Jersey and New York a thorough review of the agency and a real plan to make sure that we are careful guardians of their toll dollars.”

CONTACT:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Ron Marsico or Steve Coleman, 212 435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which does not receive tax dollars from either state, 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.


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