New York and New Jersey port authority request $1.9B government bailout amid COVID-19 fallout

New York and New Jersey port authority request $1.9B government bailout amid COVID-19 fallout
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The New York and New Jersey port authority is requesting a $1.9 billion government bailout amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rick Cotton and Kevin O’Toole – the executive director and chairman, respectively, of the port authority, which which manages the nation's busiest airport system, coastal ports, bridges and tunnels to and from New York City – sent a letter to congressional leaders laying out how the pandemic has affected their ability to operate. 

“While the Port Authority continues to operate so that essential people and goods get where they need to go, we are facing precipitous drops in passenger and cargo volumes,” they wrote. "Additionally, our tenants are requesting fiscal relief from rents and charges as their industries contract under the strain of this pandemic.”

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The port authority, like every other transportation organization, has seen a loss in ridership as public health officials urge people to avoid travel and public spaces. This is paired with the increased cost of disinfecting those services more often for the employees who still go to work and depend on public transportation. 

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

“The bi-state region produces nearly 15 percent of the entire U.S. GDP,” they added, “and the nation will need the region to fully rebound from the current crisis.”

Congress has been mulling several stimulus packages since the start of the month, including bailout packages to hospitality and service industries, as well as stimulus checks to every American. 

The Democratic governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania on Friday wrote a letter to President Trump and congressional leaders asking for at least $100 billion in emergency funding for their region alone.

The governors warned that their transportation systems are seeing ridership “decimated,” costing their treasuries billions of dollars in lost revenue, their unemployment programs are flooded with new applicants, and their social services have been put under strain because of “thousands of unanticipated participants.” 

 

“For our region alone, we believe this assistance must total at least $100 billion – and likely more – in immediate relief to account for the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our four state budgets,” wrote New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.