Port Authority Exec Says Infrastructure Improvements Needed

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Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward says the region must find a new way to finance tens of billions in essential transportation infrastructure needs.

WNYC's Bob Hennelly has this report.

Building costs are up and tax revenues are down. New York and New Jersey are already deep in debt. The Port Authority's Chris Ward told the New York Construction Congress raising capital for badly needed upgrades to the region's airports was difficult because airlines are in a tail spin.

WARD: How do you partner with the equity markets to build new terminal facilities at a time when the very industry you are trying to service is facing a significant decline?

REPORTER: Ward said one avenue for funding infrastructure could be pension plans that can afford to earn a guaranteed rate of return over decades.

WARD: With that long view you can bring private equity to build something like the Tappan Zee Bridge.

REPORTER: Ward lauded Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing strategy and faulted the Bush Administration for failing to invest in transportation infrastructure.

For WNYC I'm Bob Hennelly.