A region at the center of the world: The Role of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Hugh O'Neill

Organizations that endure for a hundred years or more share two key characteristics – they fulfill important functions, and they adapt to changing needs and circumstances. How these organizations are able to do so, however, may only become evident over time. The one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Port Authority of New Jersey thus offers an opportunity to consider how and to what extent the agency has exhibited these characteristics – and in particular, how it has served to more effectively connect New York and New Jersey, and to connect the New York-New Jersey region to the world.

This paper briefly reviews:

  • The origins of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • How the agency helped the region adapt to the automobile age
  • The Port Authority’s essential role after Second World War in connecting the region to the
  • wider world economy
  • Port Authority investments that supported the growth of the region’s economy in the 1960s
  • and after
  • Notable examples of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Port Authority
  • Strategic investments in the region since the 1990s

We conclude with a brief discussion of why and how the Port Authority’s contribution to the vitality of the region’s economy will be even more critical in the future than it has been for the past hundred years.

Bus terminal rendering
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management