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The Port Authority’s $8.3 Billion Budget Is Dominated by Increases in Bridge and Tunnel Tolls

With an annual budget of $8.3 billion, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is larger than the economies of eight other states combined.

Although neither of these places is very large or populous, this is still a sizable sum for the organisation that manages the metropolitan area’s airports, container ports, bi-state bridges and tunnels, and rapid transit system (PATH).

The $3.7 billion in operational costs, $2.9 billion in annual capital project work, and $1.6 billion in debt service make up the 2023 budget. On Thursday, the commissioners voted to accept it 3-0. An estimated $7.9 billion will be available in the budget for fiscal year 2022.

In the 2023 version, the tolls on bridges and tunnels will go up by on January 8 due to a rise in the CPI.
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According to the budget documents, the authority expects to collect $1.91 billion in toll revenues in 2023, up $62 million, or 3%, from 2022.

Bridge, tunnel toll hikes headline Port Authority’s $8.3B budget

To combat inflation, airport AirTrain tickets will increase by 25 cents, from $8 to $8.25, effective January 8. This announcement was made by Elizabeth McCarthy, Chief Financial Officer.

After a $3 billion loss in revenue (because to COVID-19 downturns), the budget is difficult, as stated by Board Chairman Kevin O’Toole. The budget is really prudent.

Revenues from operations are expected to reach $6.4 billion, up $467 million, or 8%, from 2022 levels. In general, the recovery of airline passengers is to thank for the rise in revenue.

Executive Director Rick Cotton reported that aviation traffic was at 99% of 2019 pre-COVID levels and was expected to exceed those levels in 2020.

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Some lease rental hikes, earnings from the World Trade Center campus, and the toll hike also contribute to the rise in revenues. There will be an additional $183 million, or 98%, in passenger facility charges in 2023 compared to 2022, bringing the total to $369 million.

The proposed budget does not include any funds for adding any new permanent staff, so the total number of authority employees will remain at 7,955. A new and improved PATH fare system, as well as the creation of 89 new temporary, project-based jobs, are supported by these funds.

In 2023, capital investment is budgeted at $2.9 billion, a $719 million (or 33%) increase from 2022’s projections.

Because it generates the most money, it makes sense that aviation receives the most funding for new infrastructure. Newark’s AirTrain replacement programme is included in the $1.45 billion worth of aviation improvements.

In addition, there are the expenses associated with the “Whole New LGA” project at LaGuardia Airport, which is coming to a close, and with the second phase of the construction of the brand new, state-of-the-art Terminal A at Newark Airport. The JFK Redevelopment construction initiative will also increase its pace.
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Newark’s brand new Terminal A’s delayed phase one opening from December 8 was caused by problems with the building’s fire and security systems. Cotton predicted that it would be ready for business by early January.

By 2023, bridges and tunnels will have the second largest capital spending level, at $633.48 million.

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Work on the replacement of the suspender ropes on the George Washington Bridge will continue, and the new Port Authority–Midtown Bus Terminal will undergo design and the creation of an environmental impact study.

The first steps toward the new terminal will be visible to commuters and vehicles in 2019 when it is planned to construct two bus parking decks over the Manhattan entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel. As construction on the new terminal progresses, the bus staging area will be demolished and replaced by the deck.

According to Steven Platte, Chief of Major Capital Projects, once the construction of the new terminal is finished, the decks will be transformed into a 3.5 acre park for the community.

Bridge, tunnel toll hikes headline Port Authority’s $8.3B budget

With a total of $510.79M, PATH has the third-highest capital expenditures, highlighted by the recent reopening of the southwest headhouse at Harrison Station after its extensive renovation. To accommodate 9-car operations and expand capacity along the Newark–World Trade Center route, further new railcars are scheduled for delivery in 2023.

In the second half of 2023, passengers may also expect the start of phased work to replace the antiquated PATH fare collection system with a new system that accepts contactless card and phone payments.

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Construction on upgrades to the Port Street Corridor at Port Newark will begin to alleviate truck traffic back-ups at the ports, which again broke records for cargo carried in 2022. This also comprises the rehabilitation of Berths E-1 and E-2 at Port Jersey, as well as the continuing of design and construction activities to complete state of good repair work at Port facilities. When the port’s cargo levels recover from seasonal lows, officials anticipate more record-breaking activity.

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