Transportation Investments Across the Region; Hudson News wins major contract; NorthStar CEO addresses conference; Election Day preview

NorthStar Strategies TrueNorth Insights

Transportation Investments Advance

Across the region, dirt will be flying as major transportation infrastructure projects advance. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently approved a $51.5 billion capital program. In New Jersey, the Department of Transportation rolled out $100 million in grants for a variety of projects and also announced the selection of a long-anticipated bridge replacement project. And the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey continued its aggressive efforts to upgrade infrastructure in both states.

PANYNJ bets big on airports

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) took significant action at its Board meeting last week to rebuild the region’s airports, approving $4.5 billion in critical transportation projects. Under the leadership of Chairman Kevin O’Toole, the bi-state agency continues to act to keep pace with unprecedented, record-breaking growth at the region’s three major airports. The PANYNJ’s Board took the following specific actions:

  • Authorized $2 billion to develop AirTrain LGA to expand rail service to LaGuardia Airport;
  • Authorized $2 billion to develop a new AirTrain Newark. The new AirTrain will replace the existing 3-mile monorail system that opened in 1996 and is long past its useful life;
  • Authorized $35 million in planning and visioning work for Terminal Two at Newark Liberty International Airport which will allow for the eventual replacement of Terminal B;
  • Authorized $445 million to advance the $13 billion JFK Redevelopment Program.

“Ensuring continued progress on these projects will enable us to provide 21st century facilities that offer the world-class customer experience our passengers expect,” said O’Toole.

The Board also unanimously approved a major contract to New Jersey-based Hudson Group to operate concessions at Newark Airport’s Terminal B. Hudson is one of the largest and most recognizable travel retailers in North America, owning and operating over 1,000 stores in 89 locations. NorthStar is pleased to represent Hudson and eager to see the company play an important role in enhancing the customer experience for travelers using Newark Airport.

MTA’s historic Capital Plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has approved a historic $51.5 billion capital spending proposal for 2020-2024.

The plan represents a 70% increase over MTA’s previous plan, the largest in its history. If implemented properly it will significantly enhance the agency’s deteriorating infrastructure and service for the millions who use it every day.

According to MTA, the plan includes more than $40 billion for NYC Transit, $15 billion of which will come from congestion pricing. It has earmarked $7 billion of that to resignal 11 subway lines, and $6.1 billion to add 1,900 new subway cars in order to reduce delays by 10%.

“This plan doubles down on necessary investments in the system’s aging infrastructure, including committing $37.3 billion toward subway modernization and full ADA accessibility at 70 stations,” said Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Nick Sifuentes.

NorthStar CEO Joe Fiordaliso is a Board Member of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the region’s preeminent advocacy organization dedicated to mobility, accessibility and livability in  New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

NJDOT divvies funds; announces major selection

The Murphy Administration recently announced that the federal government has awarded $100 million to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for 28 projects throughout the State.

Funding will be used for a range of projects, including bridge preventative maintenance, pedestrian safety improvements, bikeways, intersection improvements, and congestion relief.

NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti reacted enthusiastically, saying, “We’ve got work to do and I’m pleased the Federal Highway Administration is providing the ability to get more projects done.”

NJDOT also made a major bridge replacement project announcement last week, with the selection of a consulting engineering firm to design the Route 1 Northbound Bridge over Raritan River Bridge Replacement. The project is precisely the type of complex bridge replacement project that NJDOT should be focused on. The announcement is an important one for a department that is working to prioritize project delivery and which has recently implemented a “staff augmentation” initiative that is intended to churn out capital projects at a faster clip.

Fiordaliso Addresses Conference

NorthStar Strategies Founder & CEO Joe Fiordaliso addressed a packed house at the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s annual Transportation Conference on Friday morning.

Fiordaliso’s remarks came during a lively panel discussion that included key stakeholders from the transportation industry and government and focused on funding opportunities and challenges facing New Jersey’s transportation agencies and authorities.

In a candid assessment, Fiordaliso explained that the New Jersey Department of Transportation is delivering a capital program despite a funding increase from the 2015 renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) that is insufficient to address the ever-growing needs of New Jersey’s transportation network. Half of that increase was reserved for investments by counties and municipalities in local transportation assets. While extremely important, these local projects are separate from the vast needs in the Department’s inventory of roads and bridges. Fiordaliso commended the Department under the leadership of Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti for its work to provide project delivery assistance to local governments.

Fiordaliso characterized expediting project delivery as the most important transportation infrastructure issue facing New Jersey. He called on policy-makers and stakeholders to relentlessly push for faster and more efficient delivery of projects and offered a series of recommendations that he termed essential considering the ever-growing needs of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure network and in light of a softening national economy that could dip into recession by the second half of 2020.

Election 1 Week Away!

New Jersey will hold elections on Tuesday November 5, with all 80 seats in the General Assembly up for grabs along with an assortment of local races around the State. New York City will hold a special election for Public Advocate and also consider several ballot proposals. We will be covering it all – stay tuned for a special election edition of TrueNorth next Wednesday!