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NEW YORK CITY-Port Authority chairman Anthony Coscia described the World Trade Center construction site as “the ultimate Rubik’s Cube.” With two active trains running through the site, Coscia described how workers had to build around the tracks. “Not a day goes by on that site that we don’t have a crisis at 10 a.m. that needs to be resolved by 4 or 5 p.m. Sometimes we fix it and sometimes we don’t.”

Coscia spoke as a guest to the Real Estate Lenders Association during their monthly breakfast meeting at Club 101, where about 80 real estate finance professionals attended the networking gathering. “The Port Authority developed the New York and New Jersey ports into one of the best port systems in the world,” he said. “Through this we found out there are other things the Port Authority could do, which is bring people together.”

The chairman described how London, Paris and Shanghai are revamping their public mass transit systems to better compete in the world today. He said New York City would be at a major disadvantage to those cities without major changes to the Port Authority transportation lines.

“We’re only here because of things done in the past that looked forward to the future. It is exactly that objective that the Port Authority is focusing on,” says Coscia. “What we need has changed over time. We need to be smarter about how we do things. Someone needs to build not for today, not for tomorrow but for 20 years from now.”

Later Coscia discussed the Port Authority’s $30-billion budget action plan that will include building new tunnels through the Hudson River, adding new PATH train cars and redoing all the PATH stations.

The price hike to $8 from $6 was to help pay for the $30-billion projects, according to Coscia. “It should be no surprise to anybody, but you do not make money with mass transit. You lose money.”

He explained that “if we do not find a way to get people on time to work at the times they need to be there, we will have lost our advantage. Our new project will get all people to jump on a safe and reliable train and get to work at the time they need.”

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