Number of the Day: $7.165 billion

December 6, 2010 | Number of The Day

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been in the news a lot lately, what with our governor summarily dismissing the idea of adding the Tappan Zee bridge to its portfolio and canceling one of its pet projects, the ARC tunnel. The Authority, however, is trying to avoid taxpayer’s ire by releasing an expense-neutral proposed budget of $7.165 billion. (The budget calls for an increase in capital expenditures of about $800,000, to $3.1887 billion.)

The general expense portion of the budget will be $2.483 billion on revenues of $3.669 billion. Expenses will be the same as this year, but there will be 200 fewer employees, bringing the total to 6,777. The Authority says this is the fewest workers in 40 years. The budget also calls for no toll increases and eliminates the personal use of E-ZPass by employees and retirees.

The largest chunk of both general operating revenues and expenses is associated with the five airports the Authority operates: JFK International, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Teterboro and Stewart International. The biggest of these operations by far is JFK, with $1 billion in revenues and $663 million in expenses. Newark Liberty’s budget projects $383 million in expenses and revenues of $764 million. LaGuardia’s expenses are $214 million with $321 million in revenues.

The eight facilities that make up the tunnels, bridges and terminals cost $414 million but rake in $1 billion. The George Washington Bridge has $460 million in revenues and $97 million in expenses. The other bridges and tunnels also turn significant profits. The bus terminal, however, will cost about $90 million on revenues of $36 million. The PATH system is another Authority project that is operating at a deficit, with revenues of about $106 million and costs of about $231 million.

The Port itself is a relatively modest portion of the budget: revenues of about $209 million and expenses of $151 million.

When it comes to capital improvements, the largest by far will be to the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, at $1.9 billion. The authority also expects to invest in new railcars and a signal system for the PATH, continued channel-deepening of the Port ($70 million) and significant development at the airports ($147 million).

The Authority’s commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed budget tomorrow.