Port Authority Capital Plan: A Commitment to the Agency’s Core Mission

By Media Relations Staff

The Port Authority’s proposed 2017-2026 Capital Plan – a record $32.2 billion spending commitment to essential new transportation projects and revitalizing and maintaining current facilities — has been introduced by the agency’s Board of Commissioners. Now, it’s the public’s turn.

Two public meetings are scheduled to elicit public input on a range of critical transportation projects in the 10-year plan, which is designed for new and existing facilities across the agency’s airports, terminals, bridges, ports, tunnels and PATH.

The first meeting is set for Tuesday, January 31 at 4 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich St. in New York from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. The second will be from 5 p.m.-8p.m. on Tuesday, February 7 at the Port Authority’s 2 Montgomery St. offices in Jersey City. Attendees who wish to speak must register in advance, at http://corpinfo.panynj.gov/pages/capital-plan-speaker-registration.

Members of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners, Executive Director Pat Foye and Chief Financial Officer Libby McCarthy will attend the meetings. The meetings are an integral piece of the board’s deliberation process, part of a month-long public review and comment period, and public comments can also be sent through February 15 to publiccomments@panynj.gov.  A vote on the plan is scheduled for the board’s February 16 meeting.

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The new Terminal B under construction at LaGuardia Airport

Key projects outlined in the plan include a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport, a new AirTrain system for LaGuardia Airport, a new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport and Terminals C and D at LaGuardia, and extending PATH to the rail link station at Newark Liberty.

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The existing Port Authority Bus Terminal

Other key components include:

  • $8.8 billion in critical renewal projects, including 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.
  • $7.6 billion for the completion of projects currently in construction: LaGuardia Airport’s continuing Terminal B project, PATH’s signal replacement and upgrades to its Harrison and Grove Street stations, and funds to support the Bayonne Bridge navigational clearance program and Goethals Bridge replacement, among others.
  • $2.7 billion committed to payment of debt service from anticipated low-interest federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loans to the Gateway Program Development Corporation, for the planned trans-Hudson rail tunnels and Portal Bridge North projects.
Posted in John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, PANYNJ, Pat Foye, PATH, Port Authority, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Amtrak and PATH: Working Together for the Good of the Region

By Roz Hamlett, Portfolio Editor

When steely-eyed reps from railroad organizations meet across a table to reach a mutual agreement, sometimes tempers flare, sparks fly and negotiations derail.

But soon after PATH General Manager Mike Marino assumed the top post at the transit agency in 2015, he negotiated a formal agreement between PATH and Amtrak for the future ongoing maintenance of the Dock Bridge, located just east of Newark Penn Station. Previously there had only been an informal arrangement in place.

dock-bridge

Marino’s success with Amtrak was helped along by strong relationships he had forged with Amtrak during his 24 years as a superintendent. Fortunately, he could count many of the players at the table as friends.

“Whenever something goes wrong, the formal agreement between Amtrak and PATH requires that representatives from both transportation organizations respond together to assess and fix the problem,” Marino said. He believes that delays on the span will improve over time, albeit slowly, because of the productive relationship between PATH and Amtrak.

A high degree of coordination is essential on the Dock Bridge because operations are a labyrinth of different computer systems, power sources, and signal systems.

Built in 1935, Amtrak owns the bridge. It has three spans, or sections of track, that serve not only Amtrak, but also NJ Transit (NJT) and PATH trains.  Amtrak and NJT operate jointly on two of these sections, while PATH operates in the middle section on the third track. Amtrak and NJT use a different signal system and power source, so PATH cannot operate on these two spans.  Similarly, Amtrak and NJT cannot operate on PATH’s span.

Amtrak and PATH share the maintenance of signals and bridge gear such as the proximity switches, which are located beneath the tracks and must make contact with the track to indicate an approaching train.  Because of the bridge’s age, heavy use, (and even whacks from a few boats), sometimes these switches do not immediately align with the track correctly.

“There are unavoidable problems because the bridge is 81-years-old,” said Marino, who oversees all aspects of PATH operations.

And malfunctioning switches translate into delays for passengers, especially because the bridge crosses the Passaic River along a portion of the Northeast Corridor that is one of the busiest and most critical stretches of rail anywhere in the world.

What’s more, the Dock Bridge is an “on demand bridge,” meaning all three spans must be opened at the same time for Coast Guard water traffic, which has priority over train traffic.

“The good news is the next time a train is delayed because of the Dock Bridge, PATH riders don’t have to worry that their safety is ever in jeopardy,” said Marino.  “Safety is PATH’s number one priority.  Riders can rest assured that the problem will be assessed thoroughly and 100 percent resolved before service resumes, although this causes occasional inconveniences.”

Posted in Amtrak, PATH, PATH customer service, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Port Authority Trans Hudson, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

The Champ Takes the Ring at Port Authority Bus Terminal

By Neal Buccino, Media Relations Staff

“A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”  – Muhammad Ali, excerpted from “The Champ: My Year With Muhammad Ali” by author/photographer Michael Gaffney

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There is no better place for a major photo exhibit commemorating Muhammad Ali’s birthday on January 17 – the first since the Champ’s death in June 2016 – than the Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to photographer Mike Gaffney. Ali fought 10 bouts in New York City, more than anywhere else in the world.

Despite his international celebrity, Ali valued most his family’s privacy and cherished time alone with his children, Gaffney said.  As Ali’s personal photographer, Gaffney was one of the privileged few allowed inside that private world, with the result that Gaffney’s photos capture many intimate and playful moments that Ali spent with his children and (former) wife Veronica. There also are rare glimpses of The Champ training alone.

In all, Gaffney took some 8,000 photos of the world-beloved boxer, social activist and pop culture icon between 1977 and 1978. Sixty-four of these images are on display at the Port Authority’s “Gallery of the People,” an exhibition space located inside the bus terminal at street level near the Ninth Avenue entrance and south of the main ticketing plaza. The exhibit continues throughout Black History Month in February.  It is free of charge to visitors and the 232,000 weekday commuters who use the world’s busiest bus terminal.

Like Ali himself, the photos are ferocious and tender, moving and hilarious. They highlight an important year in Ali’s career and boxing history — “his tough win against Earnie Shavers; a shocking loss to Leon Spinks; and a glorious comeback victory (against Spinks) to win the Heavyweight Championship for an unprecedented third time,” according to the book.

The curated exhibit presents Ali as a multi-faceted father, fighter, comedian and celebrity. Intimate photos reveal a dejected Ali surrounded by stunned supporters following his loss to Spinks. Action shots express Ali’s brutality, his artistry in the ring and his final triumphant victory. Ever the gentle father, Ali is shown cradling his newborn daughter Laila and playing with two-year-old Hana. Ali the comedian is displayed taunting his opponents at press events.

Other images showcase his celebrity status as he meets Presidents Carter and Ford, Michael Jackson and an unabashedly star-struck Sylvester Stallone. Yet it’s the inspirational side of Ali that Gaffney most wants to share with the world: Ali the inspirer, in cities throughout America, where locals greet him with open affection and pride.

“During a pre-civil rights era, he showed himself as larger than life and beautiful in order to inspire other African-Americans,” Gaffney said recently. “In 1977 and ‘78, at the height of his fame, he worked to inspire all people. Seeing how much people adored and looked up to him, Ali once said, ‘I wish people would love everybody else as they love me.  It would be a better world.’”

“Muhammad Ali spent a lifetime giving a voice to people who needed to be heard, inspiring all people to work hard and to never give up. His message of hope remains ‘The Greatest’ gift he gave us,” said Gaffney.

 

Posted in Black History Month, Civil Rights, historic photographs, NYC, PABT, PANYNJ, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, public art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,