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WTC Dominates Port Authority Budget; Christie Continues Criticism Of Agency Management

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One World Trade Center rises in the skyline - New York, NY - Dec 8, 2011 (credit: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880)

One World Trade Center rises in the skyline – New York, NY – Dec 8, 2011 (credit: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (AP/WCBS 880) - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to spend more than $2 billion on building the new World Trade Center next year and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is continuing his criticism of the agency.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With Gov. Christie

That $2 billion is more than the agency will spend on construction at all of its airports, bridges and other properties combined.

The Port Authority’s board approved the preliminary 2012 budget Thursday afternoon. At $7 billion, it is $70 million lower than last year.

It sets aside $3.9 billion for capital improvements, but most of that money goes to the World Trade Center.

The Port Authority recently raised bridge and tunnel tolls to help pay for construction at the World Trade Center and other sites.

The AAA is going to court to fight back. It says the Port Authority is milking motorists for money and should be using more of those funds for roadway projects.

If you ask Gov. Christie, there was what he called awful mismanagement at the Port Authority before he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got into office.

Chris Ward was an awful manager. He didn’t tell the truth about how much money was being spent down there [at the World Trade Center] and we found, just since he’s left, we’ve found that there’s $2 billion more being spent on the World Trade Center than he had told us,” Christie said Thursday.

That’s why they called for an audit after approving toll hikes in September, which Christie says are needed to raise the Bayonne Bridge for ship traffic and conduct necessary repairs on the George Washington Bridge.

“If we want to do those type of major projects, the way that gets done in the main is through toll revenues,” he said in Teaneck.

Christie would not, however, comment on AAA’s lawsuit over the toll hikes.

In addition to the vote on the Port Authority budget, starting on Friday the public will be able to see the name and salary of every person who works for the Port Authority.

The Port Authority’s board said Thursday it will start posting the information online. It said the information should help expose any position that is overpaid.

What do you have to say about the Port Authority? Sound off in the comments section below.

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