SPECIAL METROPOLITAN AUTHORITIES--THEIR HISTORY AND NATURE
The features which distinguish special metropolitan authorities from other units of government functioning in the metropolitan area may be stated as follows: (1) They are established through legislative act or by constitutional amendment to exercise jurisdiction over some specified function or functions of local government. (2) They exercise this jurisdiction in a territory embracing the entire metropolitan area or a substantial part of it, incorporated or defined by law as a "district." (3) They are supported from funds raised within the "district." (4) They are distinct from federal, state, county, or special authorities having charge of administrative districts or improvement districts which have no special reference to a metropolitan area.1
These special metropolitan authorities are set up when the necessity of a single authority to perform a metropolitan service is recognized and when the provision of such service by the other methods is considered impossible or inadvisable. Sometimes, however, the desire to evade existing tax or debt limits prompts the creating of an ad hoc authority.
Of the twenty-nine metropolitan areas treated in this report, ten have one or more such metropolitan units of government. New York has five, Boston three, the others one each. Some exercise jurisdiction over the entire metropolitan area, others only over a part. In the first class are the Port of New York Authority, the Chicago Sanitary District Commission, the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Commission, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Commission, the Niagara Frontier Planning Board, the Port of Seattle and the Port of Portland Commissions. In the other are the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, the Washington Suburban District, and the East Bay Municipal Utilities Commission.
Table X gives the details of these organizations.____________________