Agency Adopts 2007 Budget that Holds the Line on Operating Costs; Includes Record Investments in Transportation Facilities
And World Trade Center Rebuilding
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today approved the agency’s 10-year capital plan, a visionary document that returns the agency to historic investments in transportation infrastructure, meets commitments to rebuilding and improving facilities, and provides a capital investment strategy for the future.
The plan, which covers the years 2007 to 2016, includes significant investments to rebuild the World Trade Center site and Memorial, build the Trans-Hudson Express Rail Tunnel and other regional transportation initiatives, enhance security at Port Authority facilities, address aviation capacity issues and upgrade the seaport’s ability to handle annual increases in international cargo.
The 10-year, $26.1 billion capital plan is a first in Port Authority history, and represents the bistate agency’s effort to refocus on its core mission of driving major transportation projects that allow the entire region to grow.
At its monthly meeting, the Board also formally adopted its 2007 $5.7 billion operating and capital budget, which holds the line on operating expenses and administrative costs, while providing record investments in operating and capital security programs and World Trade Center site rebuilding. A preliminary version of the 2007 budget was released to the public last month.
New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, “In addition to fulfilling our responsibility to rebuild the World Trade Center and protect our critical infrastructure, this budget represents the Port Authority’s primary function to fund major transportation projects with a multibillion dollar commitment to the Trans-Hudson Express Rail Tunnel. I look forward to working with our regional and federal partners on this vital project that will improve our mobility and grow the economy.”
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “This budget makes extraordinary investments to better secure our bridges, tunnels, airports, seaports and rail system for the millions of travelers who use them each year. We also are committing significant resources to help fund the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, including a world-class transportation hub, a spectacular memorial and other critical infrastructure, fulfilling a commitment we made to the region more than five years ago after the tragic September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The 10-year plan gives us the long-term, visionary tool we need to make critical decisions that will affect the region’s economic health for decades to come. It gives us the ability to prioritize regional projects that will allow us to fulfill our core mission to build infrastructure critical to the region’s economic future and to satisfy our commitment to rebuild the World Trade Center site.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “This budget and long-range plan fund our responsibility to rebuild the World Trade Center site to continue to restore Lower Manhattan’s economic vitality. It also addresses current and future aviation needs by funding a new JetBlue Airways terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and by earmarking funds to develop another regional airport.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “Our rising security and transportation needs have forced us to look for innovative ways to reduce administrative costs and operating expenses without jeopardizing customer service. Our efforts have resulted in $150 million in annual savings, including the elimination of 699 full-time equivalent staff positions, which will help us to move ahead with record spending for security, construction of new transportation projects and state-of-good-repair improvements to existing facilities.”
Highlights of the Port Authority’s 10-year capital plan are:
- $8 billion for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site, including the memorial, the Freedom Tower, the WTC Transportation Hub, Vehicle Security Center, retail development and on-site infrastructure. Of that amount, more than $4 billion is reimbursable from insurance and third parties;
- $4 billion for regional transportation projects, including $2 billion toward the completion of the Trans-Hudson Express Rail Tunnel and $2 billion toward additional regional transportation projects;
- $3.9 billion to expand and modernize JFK, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports;
- $1.9 billion to upgrade the Port of New York and New Jersey with deeper channels to accommodate larger ships, and an ExpressRail system to move cargo via rail instead of putting more trucks on the road; and
- major investments to develop another regional airport for the metropolitan region; purchase a full fleet of new PATH cars; and construct a new Goethals Bridge.
The Port Authority’s $5.7 billion 2007 budget includes $2.3 billion for operating expenses, $2.5 billion for capital improvements, $806 million for debt service and $69 million for other expenditures.
- Continuing to hold the line on operating expenses, reflecting only a 1.1 percent increase over the 2006 budget despite an increase in security spending.
- Capital expenses increased by $625 million, or 33.2 percent, due primarily to work at the World Trade Center site in connection with the Freedom Tower, memorial, retail development and common infrastructure. Of this amount, approximately $406 million will be recovered from insurance and third parties.
- Capital and operating spending for security at Port Authority facilities totals a record $679 million.
- Funds are included for preliminary planning and site acquisition for the Trans-Hudson Express Rail Tunnel, the new Terminal 5 at JFK, the redevelopment of Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport, and advancing the purchase program for 340 new PATH rail cars.
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 system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine 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.