It is no secret that before coming under government auspices, much of New York’s essential infrastructure was built with private funds. But with state and local budgets under increasing strain, Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, explained that private capital will dominate future PA developments.
“We are in a new era of public-private partnerships,” Foye told a room full of bankers and real estate investors who gathered this week for a dinner at the MetLife Building’s Café Centro, hosted by the accounting and consulting firm EisnerAmper.
Foye replaced Chris Ward as director of the PA last year. At the dinner, he noted that the PA is slated to spend between $25 billion and $26 billion on public projects over the next decade; since that money doesn’t come anywhere close to meeting New York-area infrastructure needs, Foye said that private capital would have to play a leading role.
An attorney who has worked at the white-shoe firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Foye more recently served as downstate chairman of the Empire State Development Corp. and as deputy county executive for economic development in Nassau County, L.I.
“We want a private sector orientation,” Foye said, responding to criticism that the PA has been slow to complete, or even start, many of its scheduled projects.
This week’s 11th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks put the PA back in the spotlight for its role as the largest contributor to developing the long-delayed 9/11 museum and for committing $7.7 billion to construction at ground zero; much of that money was previously slated for other infrastructure projects, such as LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal, Newark’s Terminal A and the Goethals Bridge.
While Foye avoided naming precisely which of these projects would be approached through public-private partnerships, he promised that the days of World Trade Center-sized delays and expenses are over. “The World Trade Center represents the end of [Port Authority] development on that scale,” Foye said.