A Study of the Port of New York Authority

By Frederick L. Bird | Go to book overview

Chapter One
ORIGIN and PURPOSE of the AUTHORITY

THE PORT OF NEW YORK AUTHORITY is a self-supporting, non-political regional agency of the States of New York and New Jersey which was created in 1921 to help produce "a better coordination of the terminal, transportation and other facilities of commerce" in a great metropolitan area which had special need of such aid in the promotion of its orderly development.

The metropolitan region of New York- Northern New Jersey, which includes nearly nine per cent of the population of the United States, owes much of its growth to the advantages of its famous harbor. Its cities, with their residential areas, industrial and commercial facilities, and transportation systems, have developed around the waters of the harbor as a single, highly interdependent economic entity; but the physical and administrative problems common to all large metropolitan areas have been intensified here not only by the intervening waterways which subdivide the various sections but by the geographical complication of a bisecting state boundary line which runs down the center of the Hudson River and the harbor.


Interstate Controversy vs. Cooperation

This artificial boundary line had been a hazard to unified economic progress and an invitation to sectional jealousy from the early days of the area's growth. Quarrels between the two States in the early nineteenth century over harbor jurisdictions and boundary lines were settled by a treaty in 1834, and for many years thereafter no serious interstate disputes disturbed the development of the port. But by the early 1900's growth had produced congestion in the port and renewed friction between the States. Hard feelings were intensified, moreover, because the bulk of the maritime commerce of the port had developed on the New York side of the harbor although most of the trunk railroads had entered the area and located their terminals on the New Jersey side. The railroads developed an extensive carfloat, lighterage and ferry service to take advantage of the waterfront facilities which New York City had repossessed and constructed at great expense, while on the New Jersey side no attempt had been made at unified development of the waterfront and the greater part of it

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