Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY CHAIRMAN DELIVERS COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT NJIT CHALLENGING GRADUATES TO LEAD A RENEWED NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE

Date: May 17, 2007
Press Release Number: 42-2007

Announces Long-Term Port Authority Initiative to Reduce Global Warming Impacts of Airports, Ports by 80 Percent


For full text of this speech - click here


Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Anthony R. Coscia today delivered the commencement address at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) 2007 Commencement Ceremony (full text attached). Coscia detailed the need for graduates to be a part of a new national commitment to investing in our infrastructure. He challenged graduates to push the envelope of greatness, because their ideas, commitment to success and ambition will be integral to ensuring the country’s competitiveness in the 21st century.

As a part of his address, Chairman Coscia announced the Port Authority will undertake an effort with a goal to reduce the global warming impact of Port Authority ports and airports by 80 percent in the long term.

“I am pleased to announce that the Port Authority will develop a comprehensive strategy over the next two years for implementing alternative energy solutions at our airports and ports – a combination of efficiency, renewable energy and renewable energy credits – with the ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions, our so-called carbon footprint,” Mr. Coscia said.

Additionally, he stated the agency must think of its environmental impact in terms of “the signs outside of parks telling you to take out what you bring in.”

The environmental initiative puts the agency at the forefront of meeting Governor Corzine’s statewide greenhouse gas reduction target set in a February 2007 Executive Order, and stems from the Governor’s speech at NJIT last year in which he called for environmentally sustainable practices at ports and airports in his economic development plan.

Mr. Coscia noted that it would be impossible to bring critical facilities like the airports and ports to zero carbon emissions, but a greatly reduced net impact could achieved though a number of measures including:

  • geothermal heating and cooling of buildings;

  • on-site power generation through the use of fuel cells;

  • use of renewable energy from wind and solar projects;

  • having planes use docking stations to power up at airports rather than idling their engines;

  • using electrified tugs and other alternative fuel rampside equipment;

  • using planes like the A380 to carry more passengers on flights that also are more environmentally efficient, and;

  • offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits.


Mr. Coscia said the agency’s efforts would help bolster the renewable energy market.

“Our strategy would also seek to offset emissions by tapping into the market of large-scale clean energy generation in our region. In this way the Port Authority would not only be helping to avert global warming, it would also be contributing to a promising sector of our regional economy,” Mr. Coscia said.

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.


New Jersey Institute of Technology Commencement Address
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia
May 17, 2007


Thanks for your kind introduction, Kathleen.

I am delighted to be here with you, along with [elected officials], my fellow honorees, distinguished guests, parents and friends, and of course the NJIT graduates whose achievements we’re celebrating today.

Commencements are, I think, mistakenly understood as recognizing years of hard work by the graduate culminating in today’s ceremony.

But as the parent of five children – and untold tuition payments – I know the real celebration is the one being planned by every parent after that last tuition payment is made.

No one gets to this day without a lot of ups and downs, hard work, frustrations, joys and most importantly the tried and true support from family and friends.

So, graduates… take a moment to reflect on all you have achieved to arrive here today….

but also take a moment to recognize the many people – especially your parents and loved ones who supported you along the way.

I’m a little biased but, I think, they deserve their own round of applause.

When you invited me to speak at this year’s commencement, I was both flattered and surprised.

Flattered because, having lived in New Jersey for most of my life, I am well aware of the outstanding reputation of NJIT and the contributions this university and its graduates have made to this region.

Surprised because, as someone who still can’t quite manage to use the scroll wheel on my blackberry correctly, I didn’t regard myself as being in the running for this honor.

A commencement speech is an interesting concept.

Graduation day is a celebration…

But before you get to celebrate they make you suffer through a speech that you likely have no interest in hearing, given by some person you’ve probably never heard of.

Only an institution of higher education would think a speech is a fun way to kick off a party.

So, knowing that my remarks are standing in the way of your well-deserved celebration, I will be brief.

There’s a commercial out today – I’m not sure by whom – that says no one wakes up and decides to be ordinary.

I doubt that any of you have worked hard to graduate from an institution of this caliber merely to go out in the world and be “ordinary”.

Most of us start out with visions of grandeur, not dreams of mediocrity.

But life has a funny way of humbling our ambitions and pressing us into the safe embrace of the ordinary and conventional.

Sustaining the drive to be something more than just another cog in the wheel isn’t easy, it turns out.

So if you take nothing else from my ten minutes today – take this.

We need you to be afraid to fail.

Don’t work the next sixty years of your life simply to preserve the status quo.

Wake up every day – or at least once a week – thinking about how you can push the envelope of greatness.

Fight the urge to become complacent and dare to leave your mark on this world.

I realize that daring to leave a mark is hard in the world in which we now live.

Our modern world presents us with huge challenges.

We face enormous geopolitical dangers unlike anything since the middle of the twentieth century.

We face hungry and smart competitors that didn’t previously exist, certainly when I graduated from college, but not even five years ago.

And we face unprecedented environmental threats that endanger our quality of life.

Fortunately, America has always been a land of dreamers who have shunned the ordinary and redefined what is achievable.

Consider, for instance, a topic close to my heart at the Port Authority – our national infrastructure.

I usually lose people’s attention when I start talking about “infrastructure.” My typical audience thinks I’m talking about computer software, my kids think I’m talking about a rock band and most people in the media turn off their recor

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