The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released its proposed capital plan for the next decade earlier this month. In so many words, a capital plan is a wish list of projects over the next decade. This one is no different.
Many of these projects have been discussed for years and are needed. It’s taken the Port Authority awhile to get to them because of construction commitments at the World Trade Center, which are ramping down. The first project mentioned is raising the Bayonne Bridge’s roadway. This has to be done because the new Panamax container ships will be unable to fit under the current structure. If they cannot get under the bridge then the ships cannot get to Port Newark and the region loses out. It is always important to realize that infrastructure does not last forever and that’s why a new Goethals Bridge has to be built. The current one is obsolete. This project is being done as a public-private partnership, which is not really done in the Northeast. Work to replace the George Washington Bridge’s cables and replace the Lincoln Tunnel’s helix are necessary if you don’t want the structures to break.
The plans for the authority’s airports have garnered some attention. Lets start with LaGuardia, which was termed a third world airport by Joe Biden. The airport is considered one of the worst in the country and every New Yorker agrees with that. The plan is to build a new central terminal and expand capacity. Newark Liberty is getting renovated, but the big news there is extending the PATH to it. I disagree with that since the airport is already served by NJ Transit rail and Amtrak. Second Avenue Sagas has written some good articles about it. The site also put together a nice summary of why a subway extension has never been built to LaGuardia, which in the opinion of many needs one. It’s the only airport in the region that does not have any rail connection.
And since the Port Authority is also a piggy bank for politicians and full of their hacks, take a look at this WNYC article about Chris Christie using it to advance his goals and line the pockets of David Samson, chairman of the board, and others.