First Tolling Agency in Country to Offer Program
Expanding a program that devotes about $9 billion of a $29.5 billion 10-year capital plan to increasing the level of sustainable transportation in the New York City metropolitan region, the Port Authority will offer drivers and air travelers the opportunity to offset their own “carbon footprint” with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The Port Authority is the first tolling agency in the country to offer this program.
This month, the agency is issuing a request for proposals to create an online mechanism that computes a driver’s or air traveler’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on specific travel habits, and allows that person to purchase the equivalent emissions offset. The Port Authority will ensure that all offsets offered to customers are high quality, working with internationally recognized third-party verifiers to guarantee that they will produce the environmental benefits they advertise. The system is expected to be available to travelers this year.
Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The Port Authority is playing a leading role in developing innovative strategies to meet the urgent problem of climate change. Partnering with our customers allows us to make an even more meaningful impact. Through this joint venture we can together make real and significant reductions in our collective carbon footprint.”
Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin said, “The Port Authority has dedicated nearly one-third of its capital plan to expanding sustainable transportation. That’s truly a statement of our commitment to the environment, but we’re not stopping there. This offset program will empower our customers to help reduce the region’s carbon footprint. It’s the latest in a series of measures designed to ensure that the Port Authority does its share – and then some – to deal head-on with the threat of global warming.”
Today’s announcement joins a growing list of recent environmental initiatives introduced by the Port Authority, all of which build on the agency’s commitment to reduce the overall GHG emissions from the public use of its facilities, which includes the emissions of planes at its airports, cars and trucks at its river crossings, and ships at its seaports, by 80 percent by 2050. The Port Authority’s efforts on other fronts include:
- setting a goal of net zero GHG emissions from the operation of the agency’s facilities by 2010;
- including $25 million for sustainability projects in the agency’s updated 10-year capital plan;
- pledging to convert recently acquired Stewart International Airport into the nation’s first carbon-negative airport;
- building the world’s first geothermal-powered building at an airport at John F. Kennedy International; and
- installing energy-efficient LED lighting at the Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge as part a pilot program to equip all of the agency’s bridges and tunnels with energy-efficient lighting.
The Port Authority of NY and NJ
Candace McAdams or Marc LaVorgna
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, and Stewart International airports; 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.