The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was created in 1921 by New York and New Jersey legislatures originally as a way to refine the transportation of rail and freight in the region. However, this mission was short-lived as the mission became that of creating a bridge between New York and New Jersey to give access to people, business, and their automobiles to the regions most dominant metropolitan area. This fostered a ground breaking project called, the George Washington Bridge.
The George Washington Bridge was administered by one of the greatests civil engineers of the twentieth century, Othmer H. Ammann, a Swiss immigrant whom migrated to the United States. He was fully persuaded that he would be the mastermind behind the infrastructure that we change the face of New York and New Jersey. The project was record breaking during the 1920s as a suspended center span of over 3,000 feet was considered almost impossible. Ammann pushed these oppositions to their max as he was convinced that not only would he build this bridge, but he would also build it in a relatively short period of time and on budget. He proved himself right as the bridge came to be within 2 years and under budget. The talent behind this bridge and its beauty even caused renown planner Le Corbusier to comment,
The George Washington Bridge over the Hudson is the most beautiful bridge in the world. Made of cables and steel, it gleams in the sky like an arch upturned, blest. It is the only seat of grace in a disheveled city.
Eventually along with the George Washington Bridge came the Lincoln Tunnel which connected New Jersey with midtown Manhattan, and other major transit operations came eventually such as, bus terminals, rail services, the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, providing New Jersey residents access to mid and lower Manhattan, and freight workers with a port away from the New York City congested streets. By 2012 the Port Authority had revenue of $4.1 billion and made $3.3 billion in capital expenditures. It also had a workforce of 7,000 including its own police force of 1,800.
The Port Authority is an economic powerhouse, making way for major business transactions between New York and New Jersey. However, with such great power comes politics. Since the beginning of the Port Authority, it has caused rivalry. First with commercial establishments rivaling to possible political payback. In the summer of 2013, the term “bridgegate” was coined by media journalists after inquiries received information that Chris Christie administration had been playing political payback. Story has it that in the summer of 2013, two entry lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ were closed for four days supposedly to traffic studies resulting in major traffic jams in Fort Lee. But this claim was falsified and a new story said that staff within Governor Christie’s staff ordered this closure due to grievance between Governor Christie and Democratic Fort Lee Mayor, Mark Sokolich, because Mayor Sokolich had failed to endorse Republican Governor Christie and his initiative to have the $1 billion raising of the Bayonne Bridge and the Pulaski Skyway in return for the Port Authority’s funding of the rebuilding of the World Trade Centers.