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Tolls collected at the Holland Tunnel and other crossings help fund the Port Authority.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a bi-state port district, established in 1921 (as the Port of New York Authority) through an interstate compact, that runs most of the regional transportation infrastructure, including the bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports, within the New YorkmarkerNew Jerseymarker Port District. This 1,500 square mile (3,900 km²) District is a region generally within 25 miles (40 km) of the Statue of Libertymarker in New York Harbor. The port authority is headquartered at 225 Park Avenue South in Manhattanmarker.

The Port Authority operates the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminalmarker, which handled the third largest amount of shipping of all ports in the United States in 2004 and the largest on the Eastern Seaboard. The Port Authority also operates Hudson River crossings, including the Holland Tunnelmarker, Lincoln Tunnel, and George Washington Bridgemarker connecting New Jerseymarker with Manhattanmarker, and three crossings that connect New Jersey with Staten Islandmarker. The Port Authority Bus Terminalmarker and the PATHmarker rail system are also run by the Port Authority, as are LaGuardiamarker, JFKmarker, Newark Liberty International Airportmarker, Teterboro Airportmarker and Stewart International Airportmarker located near Newburgh, New Yorkmarker, 55 miles (88.5 km) north of New York City. The agency has its own 1,600-member Port Authority Police Department, which is responsible for providing safety and deterring criminal activity at Port Authority–owned-and-operated facilities.

Although the Port Authority manages much of the transportation infrastructure in the area, most bridges, tunnels, and other transportation facilities are not included. The New York City Department of Transportation is responsible for the Staten Island Ferry and for the majority of bridges in the city. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority is responsible for other bridges and tunnels in the area. Buses, subways, and commuter rail operated by the New York City Transit Authority which is controlled by the MTA, and buses, commuter rail, and light rail operated by New Jersey Transit are also independent of PANYNJ.

History

In the early years of the 20th century, there were disputes between the states of New Jersey and New York, over rail freights and boundaries. At the time, rail lines terminated on the New Jersey side of the harbor, while ocean shipping was centered on Manhattan and Brooklyn. Freight had to be shipped across the Hudson River in barges. In 1916, New Jersey launched a lawsuit against New York over issues of rail freight, with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) issuing an order that the two states work together, subordinating their own interests to the public interest. The Harbor Development Commission, a joint advisory board set-up in 1917, recommended that a bi-state authority be established to oversee efficient economic development of the port district. The Port of New York Authority was established on April 30, 1921, through an interstate compact between the states of New Jerseymarker and New Yorkmarker. This was the first such agency in the United States, created under a provision in the Constitution of the United States permitting interstate compacts. The idea for the Port Authority was conceived during the Progressive Era, which aimed at the reduction of political corruption and at increasing the efficiency of government. With the Port Authority at a distance from political pressures, it was able to carry longer-term infrastructure projects irrespective of the election cycles and in a more efficient manner. Throughout its history, there have been concerns about democratic accountability, or lack thereof at the Port Authority. The Port District is irregularly shaped but comprises a 1,500 square mile area roughly within a 25 mile radius of the Statue of Liberty.

Hudson River crossings

George Washington Bridge
Inland Terminal Number One in Manhattan
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were no road bridge or tunnel crossings between the two states. Under an independent agency, the Holland Tunnelmarker was opened in 1927, with some planning and construction pre-dating the Port Authority. With the rise in automobile traffic, there was demand for more Hudson River crossings. Using its ability to issue bond and collect revenue, the Port Authority has built and managed major infrastructure projects. Early projects included bridges across the Arthur Killmarker, which separates Staten Islandmarker from New Jersey. The Goethals Bridgemarker, named after chief engineer of the Panama Canalmarker Commission General George Washington Goethals, connected Elizabeth, New Jerseymarker and Howland Hook, Staten Islandmarker. At the south end of Arthur Kill, the Outerbridge Crossingmarker was built and named after the Port Authority's first chairman, Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge. Construction of both bridges was completed in 1928. The Bayonne Bridgemarker, opened in 1931, was built across the Kill van Kullmarker, connecting Staten Islandmarker with Bayonne, New Jerseymarker.

Construction began in 1927 on the George Washington Bridgemarker, linking the northern part of Manhattanmarker with Fort Lee, New Jerseymarker, with Port Authority chief engineer, Othmar H. Ammann, overseeing the project. The bridge was completed in October 1931, ahead of schedule and well under the estimated costs. This efficiency exhibited by the Port Authority impressed President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used this as a model in creating the Tennessee Valley Authority and other such entities.

In 1930, the Holland Tunnel was placed under control of the Port Authority, providing significant toll revenues to the Port Authority. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Lincoln Tunnel was built, connecting New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan.

Austin J. Tobin era

Airports

In 1942, Austin J. Tobin became the Executive Director of the Port Authority. In the post-World War II period, the Port Authority expanded its operations to include airports, and marine terminal, with projects including Newark Liberty International Airportmarker and Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminalsmarker. Meanwhile, the city-owned La Guardia Field, was nearing capacity in 1939, and needed expensive upgrades and expansion. At the time, airports were operated as loss leaders, and the city was having difficulties maintaining the status quo, losing money and not able to undertake needed expansions. The city was looking to hand the airports over to a public authority, possibly to Robert Moses' Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. After long negotiations with the City of New York, a 50-year lease, commencing on May 31, 1947, went to the Port Authority of New York to rehabilitate, develop, and operate La Guardia Airportmarker (La Guardia Field), John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker (Idlewild Airport), and Floyd Bennett Fieldmarker. The Port Authority transformed the airports into fee-generating facilities, adding stores and restaurants.

World Trade Center

Tobin was an authority as architect, and came up with the idea of twin towers. To meet the Port Authority's requirement to build 10 million square feet (930,000 m²) of office space, the towers would each be 110-stories tall. The size of the project raised ire from the owner of the Empire State Buildingmarker, which would lose its title of tallest building in the world. Other critics objected to the idea of this much "subsidized" office space going on the open market, competing with the private sector. Others questioned the cost of the project, which in 1966 had risen to $575 million. Final negotiations between The City of New York and the Port Authority centered on tax issues. A final agreement was made that the Port Authority would make annual payments in lieu of taxes, for the 40% of the World Trade Center leased to private tenants. The remaining space was to be occupied by state and federal government agencies. In 1962, the Port Authority had signed up the United States Customs Service as a tenant, and in 1964 they inked a deal with the State of New Yorkmarker to locate government offices at the World Trade Center.

In August 1968, construction on the World Trade Center's north tower started, with construction on the south tower beginning in January 1969. When the World Trade Center twin towers were completed, the total costs to the Port Authority had reached $900 million. The buildings were dedicated on April 4, 1973, with Tobin, who had resigned the year before, absent from the ceremonies.

September 11, 2001 attacks

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent collapse of the World Trade Centermarker buildings had an immense impact on the Port Authority. With Port Authority's headquarters located in 1 World Trade Center, it became deprived of a base of operations and sustained a great number of casualties. An estimated 1,400 Port Authority employees worked in the World Trade Center. The Port Authority lost a total of 84 employees, including 37 Port Authority Police Officers, its Executive Director, Neil D. Levin, and police superintendent, Fred V. Morrone. In rescue efforts following the collapse, two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, were pulled out alive after spending nearly 24 hours beneath 30 feet of rubble. Their rescue was later portrayed in the Oliver Stone film, World Trade Center.

Governance

The Port Authority is jointly headed by the governors of New York and New Jersey. Each governor, with the approval of his or her state senate, appoints six members to the Board of Commissioners, who serve overlapping six-year terms without pay. As of September 2008 commissioners are Anthony R. Coscia (NJ, Chaiman), Henry R. Silverman (NY, vice-chairman), Virginia S. Bauer(NJ), Bruce A. Blakeman (NY), Michael J. Chasanoff (NY), Fred P. Hochberg (NJ), H. Sidney Holmes III (NY), David S. Mack (NY), Raymond M. Pocino (NJ), David S. Steiner (NJ) and Anthony J. Sartor (NJ). A governor can veto actions by the commissioners from the same state. Meetings of the Board of Commissioners are public. Members of the Board of Commissioners are typically business titans and political power brokers who maintain close relationships with their respective Governors.

Financially, the Port Authority has no power to tax and does not receive tax money from any local or state governments. Instead, it operates on the revenues it makes from its rents, tolls, fees, and facilities.

An Executive Director is appointed by the Board of Commissioners to deal with day-to-day operations and to execute the Port Authority's policies. As of September 2008 Christopher Ward is the Executive Director of the Port Authority, after being nominated by New York Governor David Paterson.


Former Executive Directors



Facilities



The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey manages and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York/New Jersey region’s trade and transportation network—the region’s four airports, the New York/New Jersey seaport, the PATH rail transit system, six tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and The World Trade Center site.

Seaports

The Port of New York/New Jersey is the largest port complex on the East Coast of North America and is located at the hub of the most concentrated and affluent consumer market in the world, with immediate access to the most extensive interstate highway and rail networks in the region. In addition, The Port Authority directly oversees the operation of seven cargo terminals in the New York-New Jersey region. Each terminal offers comprehensive shipping services, rail and trucking services.

The Port Authority operates the following seaports:

The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal was the first in the nation to containerize, As of 2004, Port Authority seaports handle the third largest amount of shipping of all U.S. ports, as measured in tonnage.

Airports

The Port Authority operates the following airports: Both Kennedy and LaGuardia airports are owned by the City of New Yorkmarker and leased to the Port Authority for operating purposes. Newark Liberty is owned by the City of Newark and also leased to the Authority. In 2007, Stewart International Airport, owned by the State of New Yorkmarker, was leased to the Port Authority.

Heliports

The Authority operates the Downtown Manhattan Heliportmarker (Manhattan, New Yorkmarker).

Bridges and tunnels

Other facilities managed by the Port Authority include the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnelmarker, and the George Washington Bridgemarker, which all connect Manhattanmarker and northern New Jersey; the Goethals Bridgemarker, the Outerbridge Crossingmarker and the Bayonne Bridgemarker, which connect Staten Islandmarker and New Jerseymarker. Cash toll for passenger vehicles crossing from New Jersey to New York City is $8; there is no toll for crossing from New York to New Jersey. Discounts are available with the E-ZPass electronic toll collection system only during off-peak hours. The E-ZPass off-peak discounted toll for cars is $6 and peak discounted toll for cars is $8. Peak hours are 6-9AM and 4-7PM on weekdays and noon-8PM on weekends. Off-peak times also include the entire 24-hour period on: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day (the former E-ZPass discount for peak hours was removed as part of the March 2, 2008 toll increase). The Port Authority owns all these bridges and tunnels.

Bus and rail transit

The Port Authority operates the Port Authority Bus Terminalmarker at 42nd Streetmarker and the George Washington Bridge Bus Stationmarker, the Port Authority Trans-Hudsonmarker (PATH) rapid transit system linking lower and midtown Manhattan with New Jersey, the AirTrain Newark system linking Newark International Airportmarker with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak via a station on the Northeast Corridor rail line, and the AirTrain JFK system linking JFK with Howard Beachmarker (Subway) and Jamaicamarker (Subway and Long Island Rail Road).

Real estate

The Port Authority also participates in joint development ventures around the region, including The Teleport communications center in Staten Islandmarker, Bathgate Industrial Park in The Bronxmarker, the Essex Countymarker Resource Recovery Facility, The Legal Center in Newarkmarker, Queens West in Long Island City, NY, and The South Waterfront at Hoboken, New Jerseymarker.

Current and future projects

Major projects by the Port Authority include the Freedom Towermarker and other construction at the World Trade Center sitemarker. Other projects include a new passenger terminal at JFK International Airport, and redevelopment of Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal B, and rehabilitation of the Goethals Bridge. The Port Authority also has plans to buy 340 new PATH rail cars and begin major expansion of Stewart International Airport.

World Trade Center site

As owner of the World Trade Center sitemarker, the Port Authority has worked since 2001 on plans for reconstruction of the site, along with Silverstein Properties, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In 2006, the Port Authority reached a deal with Larry Silverstein, which ceded control of 1 World Trade Centermarker to the Port Authority. The deal gave Silverstein rights to build three towers along the eastern side of the site, including 150 Greenwich Streetmarker, 175 Greenwich Streetmarker, and 200 Greenwich Streetmarker. Also part of the plans, is the World Trade Center Transportation Hubmarker, which will replace the temporary PATH station that opened in November 2003.

Associations



Police force

The Port Authority has its own police force that provides police services to the Port Authority. The department currently employs approximately 1,600 police officers and supervisors who have full police status in New Yorkmarker and New Jerseymarker.

See also



References



External links




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