The Story

The New York metropolitan area desperately needs a new train tunnel under the Hudson River to replace the dilapidated and storm-damaged tubes. It came as a relief to hear that the governors of New York and New Jersey had reached a compromise with the federal government to pay for the tunnel. But more recent news that funding and construction of the tunnel would be managed by a new entity under the aegis of the Port Authority is less than reassuring, given the PA’s history of mismanagement and opacity when it comes to major capital projects.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Pay up: Mismanagement of Ground Zero redevelopment led to a doubling of Port Authority debt in ten years and explains why tolls were raised at profitable bridges and tunnels. Read more

  2. Poor oversight: New York State Comptroller DiNapoli found that the Port Authority routinely issues outside contracts worth millions of dollars without documenting the need for the services under contract. Read more.  

  3. Abuse of power: The “Bridgegate” scandal illustrated the extent to which the Port Authority’s enormous resources are often wielded in the service of political ends.

"The Port Authority has a shocking history of scandals, cost overruns, a lack of transparency and accountability. I cannot think of a worse agency to head this project."

David Peter Alan, chairman of the Lackawanna Commuter Coalition​

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Cranking the Debt Machine By Edwin Rubenstein (Winter 1992)

The politicization of public authorities is driving New York State further into debt and threatens another fiscal crisis.

And in other news...

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney whose office recently won the corruption convictions of two of New York’s most powerful legislators, says that Albany’s problems are deep and systemic but that potential solutions are not hard to find: They lie in the nitty-gritty evidence presented at the unprecedented trials.”