Posted on December 18, 2023
NEWARK, NJ — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has given a green light to a $1 billion budget hike for 2024.
Following a month-long public comment period, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the agency’s $9.3 billion budget on Thursday. It contains $3.9 billion in operating expenses, $3.6 billion in capital expenses and $1.8 billion for debt service and deferred expenses.
The spending plan is up from the $8.3 billion approved for 2023.
The Port Authority’s latest budget has money to pay for some big-ticket projects at its airports, bridges and bus/train stations. According to the agency, the spending will support:
- Advancement of the redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport into a unified, world-class international gateway.
- Continued planning and advancing of the new Midtown Bus Terminal, replacing the current outdated terminal with a modern transportation hub that can accommodate capacity increases and help ease city congestion.
- Replacement of PATH’s current fare collection system with a modern “tap-and-go” system.
- Development of a new AirTrain Newark system to replace the current outmoded system serving Newark Liberty International Airport, as well as advancement of the EWR Station access project that will expand rail and airport access for underserved Newark and Elizabeth communities.
- Planning and preliminary work for a new express bus service for access to and from LaGuardia Airport, and improvements to MTA New York City Transit’s Q70 LaGuardia Link Select Bus Service.
- Continuation of work on the $2 billion, 11-project Restoring the George program at the George Washington Bridge to rehabilitate, repair or replace nearly every component of the world’s busiest vehicular bridge.
- Beginning of major work on the Port Street Corridor Improvement project at Port Newark to rebuild one of the facility’s main entrances and improve trucking operations at the east coast’s busiest container port.
The approved budget also supports agency priorities centering on safety and security, customer service and operational excellence, innovation, sustainability and resiliency, Port Authority officials said.
Among other items, the funding will support:
- The agency’s largest-ever allocation toward safety and security, totaling nearly $1 billion. The funding strengthens the agency’s cybersecurity posture while advancing new Port Authority Police Department initiatives in response to an evolving threat landscape.
- Further steps toward the agency’s commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The budget includes $86 million toward net-zero initiatives in addition to over $220 million to expand resiliency and flood mitigation measures.
- Driving innovation efforts, including $219 million for systems and technology supporting innovation. Additionally, $3 million will support the agency’s innovation hub, which allows employees to explore new technologies that may be of high value to the agency.
Will commuters be paying more out of their own wallets to fuel the upgrades? Here’s what the Port Authority had to say:
“Automatic inflation-based adjustments are scheduled for implementation at the bridges and tunnels on Jan. 7, 2024, and at AirTrain rail systems on March 3, 2024, as established by three resolutions of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners (2008, 2011, 2019). From September 2022 through September 2023, the consumer price index increased 3.7 percent, which triggered an annual automatic inflation-based bridge and tunnel toll adjustment of $0.63, as well as an AirTrain fare increase of $0.25. Port Authority tolls are only one way, and these incremental adjustments will result in Port Authority tolls similar to round trip tolls of other regional systems. Fares at PATH remain at their current level. Discount bridge and tunnel toll and AirTrain fare plans will continue to remain in effect, along with the Port Authority’s Staten Island Bridges Plan.”