Port Authority plan could free up $7.5B for capital projects: Moody’s

Agency able to shift funds as WTC rebuilding push winds down

Apr.April 08, 2016 09:30 AM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey may be planning a budget tweak that would accelerate construction at its Midtown bus terminal and Hudson River rail tunnel projects.

The agency is preparing a capital projects budget for 2017-2026, which would supplant its current plan, which ends in 2023. With spending on World Trade Center rebuilding projects tapering off, the new plan would allow the Port Authority to spend as much as $2.5 billion a year on other developments, according to an analysis by Moody’s Investors Services, Bloomberg reported.

“Obviously the World Trade Center construction projects were a large portion of the capital plan over the last several years,” analyst Earl Heffintrayer told the news service. “They free up $7.5 billion just by extending the plan from 2023 to 2026, which goes to fund a good portion of at least one of the facilities.”

Last month, the agency committed to building a new bus terminal in Midtown, to cost around $10 billion. It has floated a plan to sell 2.3 million square feet of air rights at the Port Authority Bus Terminal’s current location, allowing construction of a massive condominium tower with ground floor retail.

The freed up funds could also help the Port Authority cover its part of the cost of a planned new $20 billion rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River. The agency’s chairman John Degnan has recently suggested it should sell its real estate holdings to fund the two projects. [Bloomberg] – Ariel Stulberg

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