The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), along with civic and business leaders from across the New York City region, is requesting $3 billion in direct federal assistance to offset the authority’s estimated losses over the next two years due to the coronavirus crisis.
The request, which noted air travel to New York area airports is down 97 percent, came in a letter outlining the need to add a “multi-state agencies” category to the list of state and local entities eligible for direct federal financial assistance. The Port Authority said it does not rely on funding from New York or New Jersey and has no power to tax.
Without direct federal financial assistance, PANYNJ said would be forced to urgently reconsider its capital plan, including drastic cuts to a variety of critical infrastructure projects such as those taking place at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark International airports.
“Given the massive decline in traveler volumes, Congress must provide the Port Authority with direct financial assistance to offset its massive revenue losses to ensure critically important infrastructure projects can move forward,” said Rick Cotton, Port Authority executive director. “The capital plan creates 100,000 good local jobs and leverages more than $10 billion in private money. It would drive the economic recovery and pulling back now is the exact opposite of what the regional and national economy need.”
The Port Authority has kept all of its facilities open and operating during the pandemic to get necessary food, fuel and medical supplies into the region and to get essential workers safely to their jobs and back home. PANYNJ noted airport traffic is down 97 percent; PATH commuter rail ridership is down 95 percent and bridge and tunnel traffic is down 50 percent, which all combine to produce enormous revenue declines.