PA Keeps Control Of Queens Airports Through 2050
Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently
announced that the Port Authority has delivered a payment of approximately $780 million to the City to finalize a lease extension agreement that significantly raises annual payments on John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports through 2050.
The $780 million includes a $500 million lump sum and a $90-million-per-year increase over the present minimum annual lease payment of $3.5 million. This agreement includes payments from January 2002 through late November, plus interest. This minimum total value of the lease to the City through 2050 is $5 billion. As part of the lease-extension agreement, the Port Authority is also making a $100 million commitment to fund capital projects in Queens, up from $50 million when the preliminary agreement was announced in October 2003. This agreement has removed the uncertainty that surrounded the future of New York City’s commercial airports and ensures that necessary airport upgrades move forward.
Governor Pataki said, “More than 60 million passengers use JFK and LaGuardia airports each year and we will make sure that these gateways
continue to proudly welcome travelers into our City. This agreement promises hundreds of millions of dollars to New York City immediately and billions of dollars over the life of this lease. Thanks to our partnership
with Mayor Bloomberg, we have delivered a solid agreement that will benefit the City for years to come and ensure that our airports continue to be managed with excellence. I am proud that we are able to help the City while continuing the proud tradition of the Port Authority operating these world-class airports for more than 40 years.”
Mayor Bloomberg said, “This historic agreement between the City of
New York and the Port Authority will go a long way toward securing the
City’s economic vitality by making sure our airports are on solid financial footing and the City gets the financial compensation it deserves for these properties. Our airports are gateways to New York City, and the City is playing a significant role in their operations, meaning that, for the first time, the City will have a say in how the airports are run. I want to thank Governor Pataki and the Port Authority for their extraordinary cooperation that allowed us to end this long-standing dispute and fulfill the pledge I made to restore the City’s relationship with the Port Authority and make sure New York City and the borough of Queens are fairly compensated for our airports.”
The agreement also calls for the Port Authority to provide funding commitments for one-seat rides from Lower Manhattan to JFK and Newark Liberty airports.
The Port Authority will allocate $60 million to study a direct connection
from Lower Manhattan to JFK, and $30 million to study extending the PATH to Newark. If the projects are determined to be feasible from an engineering, operational and financial standpoint, the Port Authority would include funding for these projects in its Capital Plan — the extension to Newark at an estimated cost of at least $500 million, and contribute an equivalent amount for airport access to JFK.
The airport lease agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint
Airport Board to review operations and performance at JFK and LaGuardia and enhance cooperation between the City and Port Authority with respect to the management of JFK and LaGuardia.
The eight-member board is made up of four members from each entity. The Port Authority’s members are its Chief Operating Officer, Director of Aviation and General Manager of each airport. The Mayor will appoint the remaining four, one of whom will be the Queens Borough President.
The board will be funded by both entities using a small percentage of the City’s rent payments plus an additional contribution from the Port Authority.
The Port Authority has operated JFK and LaGuardia for more than 55 years. The original 50-year lease was signed in 1947 and extended to 2015 under an agreement struck in 1965.