Date: May 11, 2007
Press Release Number: 37-2007
Pilot Program Highlights New Era of Regional Cooperation on Security
In a demonstration of the regional cooperation pledged by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine in January, the Port Authority announced today it would work with the two states’ offices of homeland security in the development of a pilot program to deploy National Guard troops at PATH rapid transit system facilities.
Mirroring programs already in place at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, and following the recently announced initiative on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority commuter railroads, the effort will randomly deploy up to 40 guardsmen from the New York and New Jersey National Guard forces throughout the 13-station PATH system. Starting next week, guardsmen will be located inside and outside of PATH stations to supplement existing security provided by the Port Authority Police Department.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia aid, “Protecting an open, interstate transit system requires incredible cooperation, and the Port Authority is an appropriate vehicle to test bistate partnerships. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the collaboration on security matters that our governors promised is taking place.”
Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “Safety is our top priority so we must consistently re-examine our security protocols and search for ways to augment and improve our readiness. It’s a job that is never finished. This pilot will enhance security today and aid us in making long-term security decisions.”
New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni said, “Upon taking office, Governor Spitzer identified two principles for securing our transit systems: developing regional cooperation and maximizing the use of existing resources. The extension of Guard troops, who are already deployed at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, to provide additional security elements to the PATH system will mark the first action of its kind in the nation. This bistate effort signals the strong commitment of New York and New Jersey to transit security.”
Director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Richard L. Cañas said, “Protecting rail passengers and our rail systems is one of New Jersey’s highest security priorities. Adding National Guard patrols to the PATH system enhances our existing rail security strategy and underscores our commitment to safeguarding citizens though regional approaches.”
Since 9/11, the Port Authority has invested nearly $3 billion to provide and enhance security at its facilities, including the hiring of 675 police officers and approximately $300 million in security investments for the PATH system. The PATH system is patrolled by Port Authority Police, including a K-9 detection and special operations units, and all PATH passengers are subject to random bag inspections.
An average of 230,000 passenger trips are taken on a normal weekday on the PATH system, with 67 million total passenger trips last year. PATH’s 13 stations are: Newark; Harrison; Journal Square, Grove Street, Exchange Place and Pavonia/Newport in Jersey City; Hoboken; and World Trade Center, Christopher Street, 9th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street and 33rd Street in Manhattan.
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.