IN MARCH, 1927, when the writer was first appointed a commissioner of The Port of New York Authority, ferry boats were still the only means of conveying vehicles between the New Jersey side and the New York side of the Port of New York. The Port Authority had been created by the Compact of 1921 between the two States to carry out a comprehensive and continuing plan for the development of the public terminal and transportation facilities of the Port District; but by 1927 the Authority had acquired no facilities, had no operating revenues, and was only beginning to evolve ways and means of providing without taxing power the unifying terminal and transportation enterprises of which the Port District was in such dire need.
Working step by step, however, the Port Authority has advanced one of America's most tremendous programs of regional development-- financed, constructed and operated from the revenues of the projects themselves, without burden to the taxpayers. Bridges and tunnels have been built over and under the waters of the harbor. Union terminals for the handling of railroad freight, grain, motor trucks and buses have been built or are under construction. Piers and wharves on both sides of the Port are being operated by the Port Authority. More recently we have been called upon by the municipalities of the metropolitan area to assume the responsibility for the development of the major airports in New York and New Jersey.
While there have been many articles and papers on the work of the Port Authority, and a scholarly book by Dr. Erwin W. Bard reviewing its organization and early history was published by the Columbia University Press, there has not been available any comprehensive review of its progress. Since the Port Authority is the prototype of public authorities in the United States, is dealing with problems of regional government which are likewise the concern of planners and administrators in other metropolitan areas, and has developed special technical and financial procedures, it receives innumerable inquiries regarding its operations and plans. This widespread interest has emphasized the desirability of an independent study and appraisal of the Port Authority's work that would include its postwar program.
To secure such a study, the Port Authority turned to the Municipal Division of Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., which is well known throughout the