Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is calling for an audit of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revenue related to the agency's lease agreement with the city.
The mayor of New Jersey's largest city announced Wednesday that the audit process is already in the works and is aimed at ensuring Newark receives higher annual rent payments from the Port Authority's long-term lease agreement. The agreement includes a provision to periodically reexamine gross revenues received by the Port Authority from Newark Liberty International Airport and Port Newark, according to Baraka. The city issued a Request of Interest for Newark land operated by the Port Authority last fall.
"I made it clear during my first state of the city address in 2015 that the Port Authority must be a better partner with the city," said Baraka in a statement. "If not, I would seek other suitors for our valuable land by putting out an ROI. And that's exactly what we have done."
Mayor Baraka also announced plans to create the "City of Newark Office of Port Authority Oversight", which will examine all capital projects affecting the city and work toward increasing job opportunities. His plan involves airport workers receiving a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
"The Port Authority is committed to continuing its relationship with the City of Newark," said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan in a statement. "We recognize an obligation for the Port Authority to work collaboratively and transparently with its host communities. We welcome Mayor Baraka's commitment to this partnership."
The Port Authority is rated Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.