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Port Authority of New York and New Jersey seeks $1.9bn bailout amid COVID-19

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is seeking a $1.9bn government bailout as traffic plummets amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In a letter to the congressional delegation of New York and New Jersey, PANYNJ executive director Rick Cotton and chairman Kevin O’Toole said the port authority is facing “precipitous drops in passenger and cargo volumes”.

The tenants have also requested fiscal relief from rents and charges as their industries contract under the strain of the pandemic.

They project the cost of this pandemic will be $1.9bn assuming the current declines continue for six months.

PANYNJ manages one of US busiest airport system, coastal ports, bridges and tunnels to and from New York City, and ridership has plunged as people avoided travel coupled with an increased cost of disinfecting those services.

Cargo volumes at the region’s ports are expected to drop by 30% this month compared to year-ago level.

“The bi-state region produces nearly 15% of the entire US GDP,” the letter stated, “and the nation will need the region to fully rebound from the current crisis.”

The Democratic governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have warned that their transportation systems are seeing ridership “decimated”, and they believe assistance would need to top $100bn or more for the four states alone in order to counter the impact of COVID-19.

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