Port Authority approves $29.5B plan for projects including bus depot, airports and PATH extension

The Port Authority voted unanimously Thursday to spend $29.5 billion on an array of projects the agency says the region needs, but a critic calls “horse trading.” The proposal covers large construction projects crucial to officials in New York and New Jersey, including a new bus terminal in Midtown and the revamping of New York’s airports. Passing on a 10-0 vote, the plan allocates $3.5 billion for a bus terminal to replace the aging facility on Eighth Ave. at 42nd St. The depot is a priority for John Degnan, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Garden State lawmakers. The capital budget also includes $5.6 billion to redevelop LaGuardia and Kennedy airports — a key part of Gov. Cuomo’s infrastructure agenda. For New Jersey, $4 billion is budgeted for work on Newark Airport, including a link to the PATH train, and an additional $2.7 billion to support construction of the Gateway rail tunnel for commuters crossing the Hudson River. “It’s a fine balance we have to strike,” Degnan, of New Jersey, said of the bus depot. “I don’t believe that compromise is a bad thing.” He’d wanted billions more but opted for patience, saying the next capital plan will allow the PA to finally finish the terminal. “Do I think (the budget) has a enough money to finally erect a new bus terminal in the 10-year period? No,” Degnan said. The capital plan earned the praise of Gov. Cuomo, who said, “This successful resolution was a direct result of all parties working together to fund important projects on both sides of the Hudson.” The sentiment was similar on the other side of the river. “While it may not give me everything I want, it gives me a lot of things that are important to me," said Commissioner Pat Schuber of New Jersey. New York and New Jersey previously butted heads on Continue Reading

New York City, Paris, London ramp up security after Brussels attacks, airports across U.S. to enforce tight security checks

Law enforcement agencies across Europe and the U.S. ramped up security Tuesday morning after a series of deadly terror attacks ripped through Belgium. Police in London, Paris and New York City increased police presence at public transit hubs and popular destinations in response to the trio of blasts at Brussels' airport and a nearby subway station. The explosions killed at least 34 people. “What the terrorists want is for us to change our ways,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “The terrorists want to undermine our democracy. They want to see us in panic. We refuse to be afraid. We refuse to change who we are.” De Blasio called the attacks “horrific.” “Our hearts go out to all those who are injured, to the families of those who were lost,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with the people of Belgium.” Gov. Cuomo called the attacks part of an “international plague.” LUPICA: BRUSSELS TERROR ATTACKS PROVE THERE'S NO SCARING OFF MONSTERS WITH TOUGH TALK “In some ways this is the new normal,” he said. “Part of the new normal is this international scourge of terrorism that can strike anywhere, anytime. We want our brothers and sisters in Brussels to know that we stand with them.” France — which is still on high alert after a Nov. 13 terror massacre that killed 130 people — dispatched 1,600 extra cops to Paris' airports, train stations and metro hubs. London's mayor also announced that extra security forces would monitor the city's mass transportation stations. The NYPD and the Port Authority Police Department ramped up security at airports, subway stations, tunnels and bridges as well as landmarks across New York City. Deputy Commissioner for Counter-Terrorism John Miller said when word of the attacks came in at 3:31 a.m. Tuesday, the NYPD was able to “turn on a dime” and immediately react.  DOZENS KILLED IN TERROR ATTACKS Continue Reading

TSA agent cuffed in DWI at Newark Airport

A TSA officer working at Newark Airport was drunk and wearing only one boot when Port Authority police pulled her over in a restricted area Sunday, authorities said. Kimberly Fleming, 33, was charged with DWI after having more than twice the legal limit of booze in her system when police arrested her just after 1:30 a.m., Port Authority police said. Fleming works as a screener at Newark, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman confirmed. Fleming was driving a 2013 Nissan at a crawl through a “safety zone” by the airport on Routes 1 and 9, cops said. Cops made several attempts to pull her over, but she kept on going until one officer blocked her path with a police vehicle, said PA police spokesman Joseph Pentangelo. Cops said her car had a scrape on its left side, and she claimed “someone” had hit it. Continue Reading

Port Authority to spend $1.5 billion to extend PATH service to Newark Airport by 2024

A project that would allow for a single train ride between Manhattan and Newark Airport has finally received the funding needed to get on track. A Port Authority committee released a 10-year capital plan on Tuesday that includes $1.5 billion to construct an extension that would bring PATH train service into the New Jersey airport. Existing PATH service runs from multiple points in Manhattan to Hoboken and to Newark, but the rails do not link directly to the airport. The project would extend the line by about two miles, from the existing terminus at Newark’s Penn Station to the airport. It is anticipated to be completed in 2024, a Port Authority spokesman said, noting that lengthy processes of planning and property acquisition must conclude before construction can begin. The Global Gateway Alliance, an advocacy group that focuses on improving airports in New York and New Jersey, praised the funding commitment for the project. “It is good for New York,” the Alliance said in a statement. “It is good for New Jersey. But most of all, it's good for residents, businesses and visitors alike and will help bring us into the league of other world class cities with modern mass transportation to airports.” The alliance is largely composed of business executives and top union officials. The full $27.6 billion capital plan includes $1 billion to repair damage to Port Authority property caused by Hurricane Sandy and to bolster Port Authority facilities against future flooding. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Low-wage contract workers at regional airports getting long-awaited raises next month

ALBANY - Thousands of low-wage contract workers at LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark airports will see long- awaited raises next month, the Daily News has learned. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is set to announce Friday that all 12,000 contract employees making $9 an hour or less at the region’s three major airports will receive $1 more an hour starting July 31, sources said. Their salaries will then jump to $10.10 an hour beginning Feb. 1. The Daily News earlier this year launched a campaign to improve conditions for struggling airport workers — a cause Gov. Cuomo picked up. The Port Authority, at Cuomo’s urging, voted in April to require the salary hikes but did not give specific timeframes. The rules to be unveiled Friday also provide for automatic annual pay hikes beginning in February 2016 that will be tied to the consumer price index for urban wage earners. And they provide stronger protections for employees like baggage handlers who make less than the minimum wage because they receive tips. A 30-day public comment period kicks in when the rules are announced. The Port Authority will also mandate that a plan to provide enhanced benefits, including health coverage, for contract workers be developed by the end of September and that all employers of contractor workers make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday. “It’s a big step forward on the path that the workers have been fighting for for some time,” said Larry Engelstein, executive vice president for 32BJ SEIU, the nation’s largest service workers union. The changes came rapidly after the Daily News earlier this year first began highlighting the plight of the underpaid airport contract workers. Initially, Cuomo called on his hand-picked Port Authority executive director, Pay Foye, to push the four major airlines serving Continue Reading

Newark Liberty International Airport Guide

Contact information and flight status Checkpoint savvyBusiest times: Terminals A, C and Terminal B-1 checkpoint: 5:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Terminal B-2: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. Terminal B-3: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.Depending on your airline and your status with TSA, expedited TSA PreCheck lanes may be available. ParkingParking information: 888-397-4636.Most convenient: Valet Parking at Garage P4, $40/day. Short-Term Parking (Lots A and B, and garage C): $8/hour, $39/day. Daily parking (P4): $34. Parking Lots 1 and 3: $27/day. See more options. All lots (including long-term) offer reserved parking for a fee.Least expensive: Economy long-term parking (Lot P6): $18/day. Shuttle to terminals. See more options.Cellphone lot: Located near airport entrance, adjacent to P4 Parking garage. 100 spaces. No services. Transportation to/from cityMost convenient: Taxi (not including tolls/tips/surcharges), $15-18 to Newark, $20-$25 to City of Elizabeth, $50-$70 to New York City. Travel time varies. Note: $5 surcharge added during weekday rush hours to New York, plus surcharge for using credit card. Tips and tolls not included. See fares and more options.Least expensive: AirTrain Newark connects to NJTransit, PATH and Amtrak. NJTransit to New York Penn Station, about $12.50, including airport rail station access fee. Travel time: 30 minutes. Public bus service is available through NJ Transit Bus Lines. See fares, routes and schedules. Newark Airport Express bus to NY Port Authority terminal, Grand Central and Bryant Park, $16/$28 RT (plus $1 admin fee).  Travel time: About 40 minutes. See more options. Wi-Fi and charging stationsComplimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions are available in all terminals. Additional fee-based Wi-Fi service is via Boingo. Unlimited Wi-Fi browsing available at Terminal C (United) on OTG-supplied iPads at gates and in restaurants.Power outlets: Complimentary power charging stations are located in all terminals, post-security. Go localGood choice Continue Reading

These Rangers fans’ spirits will soar! Special flight will ferry Blueshirt faithful from La Guardia to Newark for playoff game

Dozens of lucky Rangers fans will be flying high Saturday — even before the Blueshirts take on the New Jersey Devils in game three of their playoff showdown. Delta Airlines is loading up a plane of fans — and some retired Rangers greats like Rod Gilbert and Ron Duguay — and flying them 20 miles from Queens to New Jersey. “This is our first ever Fan Flight,” said Delta spokeswoman Leslie Parker. “We do sports charters all the time, take fans and alumni groups to bowl games for example. But we have not done anything like this before.” “It should be fun for all involved,” she added. The Rangers fans who registered on the team’s website for one of the 80 reserved seats — and who already have tickets to the game — were notified beginning Thursday if they had a place on the plane. Check-in at LaGuardia Airport starts at 8:30 a.m., and fans will be required to show ID’s and their tickets. But once they get past security, it’s party time. “There will be festivities in the terminal,” Parker said. “It will be decked out with all kinds of Ranger swag.” The flight is scheduled to take off at 10 a.m. And while it will be in the air for only about 17 minutes, Delta estimates that actual traveling time will be about an hour. “Obviously we’re travelling between two of the busiest airports in the country,” Parker said. “We don’t normally run shuttles from LaGuardia to Newark.” Tack on another 10 minutes to get from the airport to the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, and the total travel time is estimated to be about 70 minutes. Game time is 1 p.m., and the series is tied 1-1. The flight is only one-way. A bus will drive the fans back to LaGuardia “after what is hopefully a Rangers win,” Parker said. While Delta’s specially chartered Airbus A319 plane has a cruising speed of 517 mph and the fans Continue Reading

Port Authority to hold public hearings Tuesday on proposed toll hikes, PATH ticket increases

Time to get out the pitchforks: the Port Authority is holding public hearings Tuesday on its vastly unpopular proposed fare hikes. Eight morning and evening hearings are planned to allow the public to weigh in on the $4 hike in bridge and tunnel tolls and pricier PATH tickets. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF HEARING LOCATIONS The PA wants to hike bridge and tunnel tolls for E-ZPass users from $8 to $12 at peak hours, with the toll for drivers paying cash jumping from $8 to $15 this year and then $17 in 2014.Staten Island bridge tolls would rise from $80 to $120 for 20 bridge crossings in 25 days. The basic PATH ticket will jump a dollar, from $1.75 per trip to $2.75. A monthly pass would go from $54 to $89. The 8 a.m. hearing locations: Newark Airport; Port Authority Technical Center in Jersey City; Holland Tunnel Administration Building in Jersey City; Port Ivory/Howland Hook on Staten Island and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. The 6 p.m. locations: George Washington Bridge Administration Building in Fort Lee, N.J.; George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Manhattan; and Kennedy Airport in Queens. An additional 2 p.m. hearing will also be held online, with comments accepted through 6 p.m. Those wanting to speak at the hearings were urged to register in advance. The Port Authority said it plans to try to limit comments to three minutes. A list of Tuesday's meetings may be found here. More information on the locations and registration forms are available on the Port Authority web site or by calling 212-435-6916. Commuters were not waiting for hearings to complain about the steep hikes. "It's impossible to come to New York these days," said Joe Fidanza, 61, who owns An Affair to Remember Limo service in New Jersey. "All they are doing is take money out of our pockets. No one can stop them. They just keep increasing tolls and fares and we have no choice but to pay," he said. "I wonder how much they make in just one day. Millions? Continue Reading

Downtown Newark’s rental market on the rise

For years, real estate developers and government officials thought no one would want to live in downtown Newark. Developer Arthur Stern and his Cogswell Realty Group just proved them wrong. Recent rentals at Eleven80 (1180 Raymond Ave.), Cogswell's 35-floor 317-unit residential building, show 45 rentals in the past six weeks, putting the building at almost 85% occupancy in just over a year. "People still don't understand how this revitalization occurred," says Stern, who credits a strong city government, the new Prudential Center Arena and his company's persistent effort for the turnaround. "It was a six-year odyssey of council meetings and presentations to banks to get people to understand that this building and downtown could work." Drawing renters priced out of Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan, Eleven80 has been transformed from a rotting downtown commercial building into the city's tallest residential structure. For 21 years, the former Helmsley-owned building lay abandoned. The nationally registered historic landmark is the first market-rate downtown residential building since 1961. Sitting two blocks from the Prudential Center and at the southern edge of Military Park, Eleven80 is a five- to 10-minute walk from Newark's Penn Station and a 15-minute Path train ride to downtown Manhattan. Stern thinks location, the building's amenities, gracious apartment sizes and a changing perception of Newark are reasons for this building's fast success. "For years, Newark was an easy target for people to poke fun at," he says. "The reality is, there are good areas and bad areas. When someone gets killed in East New York, it doesn't scare a person in Chelsea. There are areas of Newark with no crime." Municipal Council Member Carlos M. Gonzalez calls the downtown area in Newark one of the city's safest places. "There is more of a police presence downtown than in almost any other Newark neighborhood," says Gonzalez, the Newark North Ward resident who Continue Reading

Report offers ways to get local airports back on track for flight punctuality

Technology and extra "highways" in the sky could be used to lift New York's airports out of the bottom spot for punctuality, a report released Thursday claimed.More than 40% of planes flying into Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports touched down late this year - the worst record in the country. But a group of airlines, city representatives, businesses and travelers has drawn up nearly 100 changes they say could get flights back on track. "[If we] generated as few as six additional spaces for takeoffs or landings during peak periods at JFK, some 3.5 million additional fliers would be able to travel through that airport," their report claimed. Plans put forward by the group, formed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, include: Opening military air space to create more paths for aircraft. Improving technology to speed up movement of planes around airports and enhance navigation in the air. Updating runways and taxiways to allow planes to move more quickly. Working with airlines to increase the size of airplanes using city hubs. Improving service for customers who are delayed, including limiting the amount of time they can be stuck on board stranded planes. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading