A new $7.3 billion 2017 spending plan by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey maintains debt service levels while also investing in major capital projects, authority officials say.
The budget approved by the bi-state agency's board of commissioners Thursday features $1.2 billion on debt service payments, the same amount earmarked for the 2016 fiscal plan. The board also authorized $2.9 billion for capital expenses and $3.1 billion on operations.
"This fiscally responsible budget followed a painstaking review of the agency's resources to make sure every dollar was wisely invested in projects that will benefit the traveling public," Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said in a statement. "The budget continues our trend to return to the Port Authorities core mission of rebuilding critical aging infrastructure while keeping all of our transportation facilities in a state of good repair."
The debt service 2017 budget allocates $1.1 billion on outstanding consolidated bonds. The Port Authority is projected to have roughly $20.4 billion of consolidated bonds outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2016, according to the agency's budget document. For 2016, the Port Authority issued around $1.3 billion in consolidated bonds including $494 million to fund capital projects and $978 million on refundings.
The capital budget earmarks $989 million for aviation projects that include the ongoing redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport and a planned new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. The Port Authority is also investing $887 million in tunnel, bridge and terminal facilities that includes an ongoing raising of the Bayonne Bridge and a replacement of the Goethals Bridge. An additional $532 million is set up for continued World Trade Center rebuilding efforts with $217 million designated for PATH Train projects.
The Port Authority is rated Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service and AA-minus by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.