The Port Authority posted for public comment the agency’s largest ever $32.2 billion draft 2017-2026 Capital Plan. This posting on the agency’s website launches a month-long public review and comment period on the proposed 10-year plan.
The plan includes $29.5 billion in direct spending on Port Authority projects and a commitment to support debt service on $2.7 billion for the Gateway passenger rail tunnel project and related infrastructure – the largest funding commitment by any stakeholder involved in the project to date.
The plan also outlines spending of $1.1 billion over the next 10 years toward capital improvements at port facilities that will enable the New York and New Jersey region to remain competitive and sustainable while meeting regional growth plus anticipated increases in container traffic.
These investments include $578 million for the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, which will allow larger more efficient ships to access the Port of New York and New Jersey; $364 million for the Port Wharf and Berth Replacement Program; $164 million for the port and rail cargo facility at Greenville Yard; and $162 million for the Goethals Bridge Replacement Project.
Comments on the document can be submitted through February 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agency’s Board of Commissioners is scheduled to take action on the plan at its February 16, 2017 meeting. Prior to that action, the Board will consider public comments received in order to determine if any modifications to the draft plan are warranted.
The review process will include first-ever public meetings in both states that will be attended by at least one commissioner from each state, as well as the executive director and chief financial officer.
Meetings will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on January 31 at Port Authority offices at 4 World Trade Center and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on February 7 at Port Authority offices at 2 Montgomery Street in Jersey City.
To speak at either of the two meetings, members of the public can register in advance at PAevents@panynj.gov. Registrations also will be available at the door beginning at 4:30 p.m. on both dates.
The development of the proposed plan is the result of the February 2015 Board endorsement of the recommendations of the Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority, which called for the Port Authority to reassess and update its 10-year Capital Plan to reflect a more focused investment in the region’s transportation needs.
Staff from the agency’s Finance, Engineering, Operations, and Capital Planning departments spent hundreds of hours developing a fiscally balanced, comprehensive and prioritized approach to invest in the region’s transportation needs and maintain the agency’s assets in a state of good repair.
The Board then spent last year undertaking robust dialogue and discussion about the plan, which culminated with a presentation to the public and the full Board at its December 2016 meeting and a vote to move the proposed plan forward for public review and comment at its January 5, 2017 meeting.
The proposed plan outlines new major capital projects the agency will invest in over the next 10 years. All projects remain subject to Board authorization processes, and are subject to a rigorous “gates” review process before they proceed that looks at agency revenue and the ability to finance them.