The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on Wednesday released its proposed $3.4 billion 2020 Operating Expense Budget for public review and comment.
The proposed budget provides increased funding for safety and security at agency facilities; additional funding for customer initiatives at airports, PATH and the Port Authority Bus Terminal; and funds to support operations for Newark AirTrain, JFK AirTrain and the PATH Improvement Plan.
The proposed 2020 Operating Expense Budget includes an inflation-based 1.9 percent increase of $64 million in core expenses versus the 2019 Operating Expense Budget. The preliminary budget provides an additional $62 million of incremental high-priority spending comprised of spending to achieve important upgrades in facility operations and in customer experience initiatives, spending for Capital Plan construction project support, and spending that preserves or generates revenue.
The incremental high-priority spending also includes funding to crack down on illegal hustling at airports, to enhance toll recovery activities, and to fund the PATH Improvement Plan.
After consideration of the incremental high-priority $62 million in spending, the proposed budget is $3.4 billion, or $126 million (3.8 percent) higher versus the 2019 budget.
The agency anticipates that the growth in operating expenses will be more than offset by the increase in gross operating revenues. The agency also expects that future years’ operating expense spending growth will be in line with inflation, after excluding short-term high-priority spending items.
Breaking down the budget
The Port Authority says major expenses in the operating budget include $787 million to provide security at Port Authority facilities, to upgrade cybersecurity initiatives and to enhance emergency operations; $68 million to improve customer experience and to support increased volumes of activity at agency facilities; $20 million for Newark AirTrain operational support and for AirTrain JFK for major repairs and maintenance, to advance the PATH Improvement Plan, and resources to implement the Port Master Plan; $15 million to increase civilian operational support at facilities during construction; more than $330 million to provide support sustainability and resiliency efforts that reduce environmental impact and enhance the resiliency of Port Authority facilities; $310 million for Superstorm Sandy projects to rehabilitate PATH substations and tunnels, for aviation airfield lighting rehabilitation, and for Holland Tunnel’s latent salt damage mitigation program; $10 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects; $11 million to convert Port Authority light duty and airport shuttle buses to all-electric and to implement an electric cargo handling equipment demonstration project at Port Elizabeth.
In addition, the Port Authority is investing $16 million to support its Employer of Choice priority to retain, grow and attract top talent through training, development, recognition and compensation programs.
The Port Authority says major expenses in the proposed 2020 Capital Budget include $2.1 billion in aviation spending, with $1.5 billion to continue redevelopment of the agency’s airports.
At Newark Liberty International Airport, work proceeds on the construction of the new Terminal One as well as planning for the new AirTrain Newark and a new Terminal Two.
Additional priories covered in the spending plan include:
- $739 million for tunnels, bridges and terminals projects, including $471 million for upgrades to trans-Hudson crossings; the implementation of cashless tolling at the trans-Hudson crossings; advancement of the George Washington Bridge suspender rope replacement program; and further planning and design activities for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.
- $389 million in spending on PATH, including $43 million for PATH’s signal system replacement program, for the continuation of PATH station and equipment capital programs, and for vigorous implementation of the PATH Improvement Plan.
- $50 million for Port of New York and New Jersey projects, including $32 million to support construction and design activities at port facilities, completion of the Global Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, an environmental review for the Cross Harbor Freight Movement Program, and analysis and planning for critical wharf reconstruction work.