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Port Authority OKs 'historic' $27.6 billion plan for capital projects

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The Bayonne Bridge is among the top priorities for the Port Authority coming years.
The Bayonne Bridge is among the top priorities for the Port Authority coming years. - ()

Nearly $28 billion will flow to major infrastructure projects over the next decade under a capital plan adopted Wednesday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The agency's board of commissioners approved what it called a "historic" plan that will fund improvements at airports, Hudson River crossings and the PATH system, according to a news release. The projects are estimated to generate 126,000 jobs and $29 billion in economic activity from this year through 2023.

Nearly half of the funds will go toward state-of-good-repair projects at existing facilities, the agency said. The $27.6 billion plan also allocates funds for the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, the extension of the PATH to Newark Liberty International Airport, the replacement of the Goethals Bridge and other projects across the Port Authority's two-state footprint.

At its board meeting Wednesday, the agency also adopted operating and capital budgets for 2014 to provide money for some of those capital projects, along with needs such as security and efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. The budgets total $2.9 billion and $4.4 billion, respectively.

The new capital plan aims to shift the agency back to its core mission of maintaining and building transportation infrastructure, with an eye toward economic development, the news release said. The board's vote followed a two-week public comment period.

"The Port Authority's operations, engineering and finance staffs have worked painstakingly for more than a year to craft a capital plan to address critical infrastructure issues in a timely and cost-effective manner," Deborah Gramiccioni, the agency's deputy executive director, said in a prepared statement. "They identified innovative solutions to complicated problems, and I thank them for that."

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