- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will spend more than $1 billion on regional airports next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The spend represents one-third of its capital budget for next year.
- Port Authority officials said the money will address much-needed upgrades at the region's airports, profits from which pay for upgrades to other assets. In 2018, the Authority will spend $578 million for terminal construction projects at LaGuardia Airport and $167 million for Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
- The agency expects its airports to accommodate a total of 133 million people this year, an increase of 1.7% from 2016.
The decision-making process behind determining which projects the Port Authority will fund has historically been a contentious one. Last year, Port Authority commission members were at odds over who would pay for a new Manhattan bus terminal. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie eventually came to an agreement, though the commission's split views and other issues caused the Port Authority to delay a vote on a $31 billion, 10-year infrastructure initiative.
The deal on the bus terminal could have been premature, however, as there is a growing movement to ditch plans for a new terminal and renovate the existing one instead. Proponents of rehabbing and expanding the current Port Authority bus terminal with two additional stories said it could be done faster than the agency could build a replacement, would maintain passenger connections to 12 subway lines and would translate to uninterrupted service for bus riders. Both plans are undergoing environmental reviews.
Port Authority officials are also in the planning stages of a $10 billion redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport. U.K.-based Mott McDonald will develop a master plan and provide preliminary engineering and design work for the project under a public-private partnership (P3) with the Port Authority. The project is expected to include new security, terminal connections, redesigned airport roads and amenities like luxury retail and fine dining.
Airports will likely continue to see renewed attention, whether for new construction or revamp projects as the U.S. works to bring its associated infrastructure up to today's standards. The Airports Council International of North America reported that the nation would need an estimated $100 billion over the next five years to make all such necessary repairs and upgrades.