Established on April 30, 1921, as the Port of New York Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a bi-state agency that runs most of the regional transportation infrastructures including the bridges, tunnels, airports and seaports within the New York-New Jersey Port District. This 1,500 square mile District is defined as a circle with a 25-mile radius centered on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. In 1972, the name of the agency and its form of operation were changed to their present form.
Airports operated by the Port Authority include John F. Kennedy International Airport and Fiorello LaGuardia Airport both of which are located in the Borough of Queens in New York City, Newark Liberty International located jointly in the cities of Newark, New Jersey and Elizabeth, New Jersey and Teterboro Municipal in Teterboro, New Jersey.
Other facilities managed by the Port Authority include the Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, which connects Manhattan and northern New Jersey. The Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing (previously the Arthur Kill Bridges, currently the Staten Island Bridges), the Bayonne Bridge, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station; the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) rapid transit system linking lower and midtown Manhattan with New Jersey; the AirTrain systems linking Newark International Airport with most New Jersey towns and John F. Kennedy International Airport with New York City and Long Island. The NY/NJ port; and a number of real estate projects including the World Trade Center site.
The Port Authority also operates its own police department which is responsible for providing safety and deterring criminal activity at Port Authority-owned and operated facilities.
Although the Port Authority does run a good portion of the transportation structures, some bridges, tunnels and other transportation facilities are operated independently of the Port Authority, including the Staten Island Ferry by the New York City Department of Transportation, bridges, tunnels, buses, subways and commuter rail by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and buses, commuter and light rail by New Jersey Transit Corporation.
Eighty-four Port Authority employees including Executive Director Neil D. Levin and 37 Port Authority police officers were killed in the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack. The collapse of the World Trade Center deprived the Port Authority of its official base of operations. The Port Authority archives were also destroyed in the attacks. On November 24, 2003, the World Trade Center PATH station resumed operations.