The Port Authority's real estate folly
Bloated with billions of toll-payer dollars, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can’t resist dumping a fortune into real estate. Too often, it’s a waste of money.
Nor does the P.A. seem to discriminate between big and small properties when it comes to dubious spending.
The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners — disdaining accusations of financial extravagance — has OK’d a preliminary $7.1-billion budget for its combined operating and capital expenses in fiscal 2012.
More than half of the P.A.’s capital budget of $3.7 billion is to go toward reconstruction of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. That’s a touchy matter, of course.
Complaints abound that overspending on the mammoth WTC project is coming at the expense of bridge, rail and tunnel improvements in the metropolitan area.
Last year, the Port Authority said its massive new toll hikes — a heavy blow to Staten Island especially — were made necessary by work to rebuild the Trade Center. Then, in the face of a legal challenge to its right to use toll revenue for that purpose, it denied that was the case.
Far at the other end of the financial scale, the P.A. is also being faulted for its typically lax ways.
A while ago, Ms. Malliotakis and Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm jointly demanded, “The Port Authority needs to provide clear evidence that motorists on Port Authority bridges and tunnels are not being forced to cover their numerous and expensive real estate ventures.”
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