Letters: Port Authority change is needed

By: Michael J. Polimeni on February 3, 2013

In proposing a series of sweeping changes at the Port Authority, former executive director Peter Goldmark has neglected several points [“This economic engine can rev up our region,” Opinion, Feb. 2].

While New Jersey’s “Bridgegate” scandal compels reforms, the Port Authority has been the only government agency capable of tackling regional infrastructure projects.

Completing 1 World Trade Center, pouring hundreds of millions into the airports or putting together a public-private partnership to build a $1.5-billion replacement for the nearly 100-year-old Goethals Bridge, the Port Authority has demonstrated a core competence vital to our economy.

In addition to outside audits and independent review, the Port Authority’s charter should be amended to allow it to support Long Island initiatives where a fractured, balkanized political structure prevents little governments from addressing big problems.

First on the plate would be assuming management of the Long Island MacArthur Airport, which will never fulfill its potential until there is an agency capable of positioning it as an equal when negotiating with the airlines.

The reader is compelled to wonder why the list of Port Authority reforms Goldmark mentions was not proposed when he was executive director of the agency, as these institutional flaws have been self-evident for generations.

Michael J. Polimeni, Locust Valley

Editor’s note: The writer is a board member of the Association for a Better Long Island, a real estate lobbying group.

Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes necessary.

For decades, the Port Authority generated toll revenues for non-transit-related projects such as the original World Trade Center and other economic development projects.

All had nothing to do with the Port Authority’s basic mission. These funds should have been used for maintenance, upgrades and safety projects for Port Authority bridges, tunnels, airports and PATH.

Larry Penner, Great Neck