Press Release Article


Date: Oct 13, 2017
Press Release Number: 192-2017

First contingent of agency volunteers returning after a productive two-week commitment of technical and personal assistance to victims of Hurricane Maria

The Port Authority deployed a relief team of more than 70 volunteers today from John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Juan, part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to the people of Puerto Rico as they struggle to rebuild and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

The new deployment is in addition to an advance team of 12 Port Authority officials who flew to the island on Wednesday to assist in transition and begin preparations for the next two weeks of the recovery process. The new team comprises volunteers from the Aviation and Port Authority Police departments, as well as members of the Port and Engineering departments and the Office of Emergency Management. More than 70 Port Authority staffers who dispatched to Puerto Rico on September 28-29 for a two-week deployment are scheduled to return to JFK this weekend.

Working in close collaboration with local and national officials and residents of storm-ravaged neighborhoods, the Port Authority contingent has been instrumental in helping restore facilities at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, as well as port facilities, parking areas, residences and roadways.

The construction and clean-up efforts have included roof and structural repair, removing huge amounts of debris from damaged airport and residential buildings, installing new electrical equipment and replacing damaged fencing. The volunteers also have assisted with search-and-rescue operations and fulfilled other security requests, and contributed to the reestablishment of port operations. The team was entirely self-sufficient, in order to preserve limited food and water resources for residents.

“In this time of tremendous hardship for the people of Puerto Rico, we’re grateful to be able to contribute any and all available resources to the reconstruction and recovery process,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “We stand ready to assist wherever we can.”

“Our aviation, port, police and emergency management staff are putting their experience and expertise to great use during this very difficult period,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The first deployment accomplished a great deal, and we are pleased to continue this needed assistance. We’re thankful to all Port Authority staff who volunteered to be a part of the initial deployment.”

Gerard McCarty, director of the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management, said: “Our team has done a terrific job of providing technical skill, as well as great personal assistance, to victims of the hurricane. There is still much to be done, and our people are uniquely positioned to help.”

The Port Authority is part of a mutual assistance program, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC works through the states to ensure coordination of resources that can be used to assist in natural disasters. Both New York and New Jersey actively participate in this network. The Port Authority is committed to a full and responsive engagement with requests that come to the agency or through the two states during emergencies that require assistance.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

Web Site Disclaimer    |    Privacy Statement
© 2001-CurrentYear The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. All Rights Reserved.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
(212) 435-7000  •  4 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007