From the seemingly endless Bridgegate trial to Jersey City’s $400 million dollar lawsuit, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has admittedly had a colorful few years. But the authority that’s made headlines for hardball politics is also making some massive investments in our communities, which they will soon be holding two public meetings about.
Today and next Tuesday, the Port Authority will convene to get feedback about and discuss their largest ever $32.2 billion proposed 2017-2026 Capital Plan. Clocking in at a whopping 107 pages, the plan outlines the major projects the agency will invest in over the next decade.
Several New Jersey projects would be funded under the proposed plan, including the redevelopment of Newark Airport’s Terminal A and the extension of the PATH system to Newark Airport’s rail link station. Other projects of note include building a new Port Authority Bus Terminal to replace the current one, which is regularly over capacity and often a hot-button political football.
The proposed plan also includes nearly $2 billion to restore the George Washington Bridge, $1.4 billion to replace the Lincoln Tunnel Helix and $550 million to replace wharves and piers the authority owns. It will also set aside funding to finish raising the Bayonne Bridge, for the construction of the new Goethals Bridge, to replace PATH’s signal system, to upgrade the Harrison and Grove Street PATH stations, and for the completion of a port and rail cargo facility at Greenville Yard.
The plan additionally contains funding for several redevelopment projects at both John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports, the latter of which has been unkindly described as ‘third world’ by one former Vice President and other politicians over the years.
Perhaps the most important part of the Capital Plan includes a commitment to pay debt service of $2.7 billion on low-interest Federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loans, which will pay for the construction of a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel link between New York and New Jersey. The current tunnel, used by both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, is in dire need of replacement and could cause major problems for suburban commuters down the line if inaction continues.
The full plan will be put up to a vote at the authority’s February 16th meeting, but tonight’s public session will be held from 5-8 pm at 4 World Trade Center in Manhattan. A second public meeting will be held on February 7th from 5-8 pm at the Port Authority’s Jersey City offices at 2 Montgomery Street. Residents unable to attend the meetings can submit comments on the plan by emailing [email protected].