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Port Authority’s big spending plan matches plenty on NJ wish list

Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal, New York City

Posted on November 27, 2023

A more than $9 billion annual budget up for final consideration next month at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey calls for a big increase in capital investments after the agency reduced such spending in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several big-ticket projects that align with the Port Authority’s longer-term capital plans are now set to advance in 2024, including long-planned items that may be on the wish lists of many New Jersey commuters. Among them, for instance, is early construction to replace the AirTrain at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to the bistate agency’s budget documents.

Also planned is additional work on building a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan to replace the 1950s-era facility that is the nation’s largest and busiest bus terminal.

Funding is also set aside to repair damage to the Holland Tunnel caused by Superstorm Sandy more than a decade ago.

The Port Authority last revised its long-range capital plan in 2017, adopting a 10-year vision that emphasized the need to invest in core transportation assets across a 1,500-square-mile region spanning more than 200 municipalities in both New York and New Jersey.

Ongoing restoration of GWB

Other projects from that long-term plan to be funded under the agency’s 2024 capital plan include the latest phase of ongoing restoration work at the George Washington Bridge, and the purchase of additional PATH train cars to help bring more nine-car trains into service along the busy Newark to World Trade Center line.

The Port Authority last revised its long-range capital plan in 2017, adopting a 10-year vision that emphasized the need to invest in core transportation assets.

In all, the Port Authority’s capital spending would go up by nearly $725 million year-over-year in 2024, or by roughly 25%, under the proposed $3.6 billion capital budget.

Source: Port Authority of NY & NJ

The agency’s 2024 spending plan also calls for a $3.9 billion annual operating budget and $1.7 billion in spending on debt payments in 2024, according to budget documents.

Compared to last year’s $8.3 billion budget, much of the roughly $1 billion increase in overall spending planned for 2024 is accounted for in the capital portion of the budget as the agency returns to pre-pandemic levels of capital investment, according to budget documents.

The 2024 budget — which also relies on inflationary bridge and tunnel toll increases and AirTrain fare hikes — will be up for final approval during a Port Authority board meeting that’s scheduled for Dec. 14. Anyone wishing to provide written comments on the agency’s 2024 spending plan prior to the final vote can submit them online.

Capital project details

Listed below are more details about some of the capital projects that would be funded next year under the Port Authority’s proposed annual budget.

Newark Liberty International Airport AirTrain: Long sought by Gov. Phil Murphy, nearly $400 million is set aside in the capital budget to advance the planned replacement of the existing monorail AirTrain at the airport. The funding would allow for early construction activities to “ramp up” as the agency seeks to improve the “customer experience” and better accommodate increasing passenger traffic.

Midtown Bus Terminal replacement: Some $370 million is earmarked to support the development of a new Midtown Bus Terminal in Manhattan and related infrastructure, which are still in the planning phase. The “early action work” will include advanced engineering of a staging and storage facility that will be used as an interim facility.

“Restoring the George”: More than $230 million is earmarked in the capital budget to continue a major restoration of the George Washington Bridge, which is the busiest bridge in the world. Among the projects set to receive funding is the replacement of 592 suspender ropes and the opening of pedestrian and bicycle access on the north side of the bridge.

Lincoln Tunnel access: Nearly $110 million is set aside to improve roadways that lead to the Lincoln Tunnel. The improvements include continued rehabilitation of the Pulaski Skyway and replacement of the Witt Penn Bridge.

PATH improvements: Nearly $60 million is set aside for the purchase of 72 rail cars, which will support the ongoing push to put nine-car trains into service on the Newark to World Trade Center line. Another nearly $40 million is earmarked for repairs at the Exchange Place, Grove Street, Hoboken and Newport train stations.

Newark airport train station access: Nearly $60 million is earmarked for ongoing efforts to improve access to the airport train station for residents in nearby Elizabeth and Newark. The funding will support things like passenger walkways and bicycle access. Providing such access will better connect the surrounding, underserved communities with the airport, as well as with New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor line, officials have said.

Holland Tunnel: Nearly $50 million is set aside for repairs at the Holland Tunnel, including for electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems that were damaged by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy.


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