Press Release Article


Date: Oct 25, 2017
Press Release Number: 197-2017

Agency staff provided critical technical and humanitarian assistance to victims of Hurricane Maria during the agency’s month-long, on-the-ground commitment

The last contingent of more than 150 Port Authority managers and staffers who assisted the people of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico over the past month are scheduled to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport tonight, having made vital contributions to the restoration of service and structural integrity at the island’s main airport and ports.

The second wave of Port Authority employees, comprising the agency’s Aviation, Police, Port and Engineering departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management, was deployed October 13. They relieved the initial group that had been sent down on September 28-29, soon after the storm swept through the island.

“Our team worked diligently and admirably under very difficult circumstances, bringing badly needed technical and humanitarian assistance to the victims of Hurricane Maria,” said Gerard McCarty, director of the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management. “In what has been a time of incalculable hardship for the people of Puerto Rico, we were grateful for the opportunity to share whatever resources we could.”

Working with local and national officials and residents of neighborhoods that had been especially hard hit by the storm, agency staffers were important contributors in helping to restore Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, as well as the Port of San Juan, residences and roadways.

The agency’s commitment was extensive and highly productive. When the first team arrived at the airport, facility was operating at only 5 percent of normal operation, with eight flights a day. The airport is now 80 percent operational, able to handle 80 flights a day. Upon the first team’s arrival at the Port of San Juan, operations had been suspended. Today, the port is 100-percent functional. The agency’s teams provided key support to the multi-agency effort that drove these achievements.

Aviation and Engineering staff cleared debris, replaced ruined electrical wiring and fixtures, and repaired damaged windows, door frames, floors, ceilings and walls in the four airport terminals and in the surrounding areas. Port Department members, among other efforts, replaced more than a mile of downed wire fencing around the Port of San Juan in order to bring the Port back up to code, meet security standards and expedite a return to full service.

Port Authority police provided security at the transportation facilities and across San Juan, and were joined by members of other departments in assisting residents in clearing debris and structural damage from homes, rooftops and streets.

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 are available 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

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