A spokesman for the Port Authority, notes that specific plansfor the airport's redevelopment and expansion have not been drawnup as yet. "We've only been operating it for two-and-a-half weeks,"he notes, adding that "we really want to turn it into a first-classfacility." He says capital expenditures could involve new hangars,terminal improvements, parking facilities and other airport-relateddevelopment. "Everything is on the table," he says.

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The $500 million in capital funding likely includes the morethan $78 million the agency paid late last month to NationalExpress Corp. to acquire the lease at Stewart, according to thespokesman. The capital funds will also be geared to increasing airpassenger traffic at the complex to help alleviate congestion atthe Port Authority's other New York area airports. The StewartAirport operating lease runs through 2099, as GlobeSt.compreviously reported. The complex is owned by New York State.

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Other highlights of the Port Authority's 10-year capital planinclude a total of $3 billion for a new nearly $8-billion HudsonRiver Passenger Rail tunnel; $3.3 billion for improvements to thePATH transit system; $8.4 billion to rebuild the World Trade centersite and $1 billion toward the construction of a new GoethalsBridge.

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"Our ambitious plans demonstrate that the Port Authority hasreturned to its core mission--building and maintainingtransportation infrastructure," says Port Authority chairmanAnthony Coscia. "With road and rail networks already stressed, wemust invest now to provide security, maintain our bridges andtunnels, improve mass transit and reduce congestion. An open,transparent process will take place over the coming weeks so thepublic will have full opportunity to evaluate this proposal beforeany board action."

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To help fund the capital project plan and for $650 million ayear in security costs, the bistate agency proposed toll and farehikes for its tunnels, bridges and PATH systems in New York and NewJersey.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.