Date: Feb 15, 2005
Press Release Number: 8-2005
The Port Authority and BillyBey Ferry Company LLC have reached a tentative agreement that will allow trans-Hudson ferry service to continue uninterrupted for the more than 15,000 commuters who use it each weekday, New York Governor George E. Pataki and New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey announced today.
The agreement – subject to approval by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners at its February 24 meeting – calls for NY Waterway to assign its contract to operate ferry service between Hoboken and Lower Manhattan to BillyBey Ferry Company LLC. This new entity, which is solely owned by New York attorney William B. Wachtel, is required by the agreement to continue to operate routes in Jersey City previously operated by NY Waterway. NY Waterway will continue to operate routes north of Hoboken, as well as in Belford, N.J., and Haverstraw, N.Y.
In addition, BillyBey Ferry Company LLC plans to add a new service this year from Hoboken to Pier A at the tip of Lower Manhattan.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Restoring and improving transportation in and out of Lower Manhattan has been a key part of our efforts to rebuild downtown.
Since September 11, 2001, trans-Hudson ferry service has been an important link for commuters traveling to and from downtown. This agreement will ensure that as we move forward with our downtown revitalization plans, we will have convenient ferry service for those who live, work and visit Lower Manhattan.”
New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said, “As our roads and rails become more congested, ferry service has provided an alternative for thousands of New Jersey residents to get to and from Manhattan. I applaud the hard work and perseverance of our Hudson County elected officials, as well as the Port Authority staff, for making sure that service on this vitally important transportation mode is not interrupted.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Ferries always have been an important part of the region’s transportation landscape, but never more so than after the September 11 terrorist attacks when rail and highway access to Manhattan was limited. This agreement ensures that ferries will continue to play a vital role as we look for ways to relieve congestion on our highways, bridges, tunnels and rail and bus systems.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Making sure commuters have easy and efficient access to downtown offices and businesses is critical in our efforts to revitalize and rebuild Lower Manhattan.
Ferries continue to play an important role and uninterrupted ferry service will help to ensure that Lower Manhattan remains a strong and vibrant center for business and economic activity.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “The Port Authority always has been an aggressive leader in providing the infrastructure and the necessary oversight to ensure that ferry service continues. We have invested or plan to invest more than $100 million in projects such as the Battery Park City ferry terminal and the restoration of the Hoboken ferry slips with the belief that our waterways will remain a viable way to transport people around the region.
William B. Wachtel, the owner of BillyBey Ferry Company LLC, said, “We are pleased to be part of this private-sector solution that is being facilitated by the Port Authority and officials of New York and New Jersey. The ferry system has grown to become an important, environmentally sensitive part of the region’s transportation system. Upwards of 30,000 commuter trips are taken every workday, and the demise of the system would have created immediate and dramatic congestion problems at the Hudson River bridge and tunnel crossings.”
Under the tentative agreement, BillyBey Ferry Company LLC will ensure the continuation of ferry services from Hoboken and various Jersey City locations.
In lieu of previous revenue obligations, which included $50,000 per month for ground rent, BillyBey Ferry Company LLC instead will pay the Port Authority a 10-cent-per-passenger fee for all Hoboken departures, a share of receipts from advertising and concession services, and third-party landing fees received for Battery Park City and Hoboken.
If a conditional five-year option is exercised, the passenger fee will escalate to 15 cents per passenger.
BillyBey Ferry Company LLC has agreed with NY Waterway to assume $19.1 million in Federal Maritime Administration loans for the 16 vessels that will be used on the Hoboken and Jersey City routes. Under a separate agreement, BillyBey Ferry Company LLC will engage NY Waterway to provide personnel and manage and operate the Hoboken and Jersey City routes on their behalf.
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 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 rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island; 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.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.