New York’s Cuomo Picks Foye to Replace Port Authority’s Ward

Patrick Foye, New York state’s deputy secretary for economic development, has been selected by Governor Andrew Cuomo to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the transit agency that is also rebuilding the World Trade Center.

Foye, 54, will replace Executive Director Christopher Ward, who will remain in his post until the end of the month and then serve as an adviser through year-end, Cuomo said in an e-mailed statement today. Foye’s nomination must be approved by the authority’s board, the statement said.

“Governor Cuomo has made an exemplary choice in Pat Foye,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said in a statement. “He has a long record of leadership and we are excited to have him.”

Ward signaled his intention to resign late last month after Cuomo showed he wasn’t interested in keeping him. He took control of the Port Authority in May 2008 as an appointee of Cuomo’s predecessor, Governor David Paterson.

Under former Governor Eliot Spitzer, Foye led the Empire State Development Corp., which promotes business investment in New York, and was previously the deputy county executive for economic development in Nassau County, according to his resume on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s website. Foye currently sits on the agency’s board.

Trains, Planes, Automobiles

As the executive director of the Port Authority, an agency created by Congress in 1921, Foye will oversee five airports, the George Washington Bridge and three other spans, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, a trans-Hudson River commuter rail line, a Midtown Manhattan bus station, five shipping terminals and the 16-acre World Trade Center site under development in Lower Manhattan.

In May, the governor didn’t take part in a ceremony closing a deal for Conde Nast Publications Inc. to rent space in 1 World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot-high office building replacing the fallen Twin Towers. Two days after the Conde Nast announcement, the New York Post reported that Cuomo was “planning to boot” Ward after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gubernatorial Tradition

The governor of New York traditionally appoints the Port Authority’s executive director, and the governor of New Jersey appoints its chairman. The executive director manages operations, and the chairman is responsible for communicating to the director the policies set by the Board of Commissioners, which the chairman oversees.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “respects” Cuomo’s right to select the executive director, Michael Drewniak, a Christie spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

“Governor Christie certainly has great confidence in Governor Cuomo’s selection of an executive director for the Port Authority,” Drewniak said.

Foye also served as vice chairman of the Long Island Power Authority from 1995 to 2006, according to a press release from the law firm Rivkin Adler, where Foye went to work after leaving the development corporation in 2008. He earned his law degree from Fordham Law School.

The Port Authority, which raised bridge and tunnel tolls by 56 percent over five years last month, has about $13.8 billion in outstanding bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In December, it approved a $7.2 billion budget with no spending increases for the third consecutive year. The plan included $3.9 billion in capital expenses and reduced the workforce by 200 positions to 6,777, the lowest in 40 years.

Moynihan Station

Cuomo also wants to fold the Moynihan Station Development Corp. into the Port Authority, the statement said. The corporation heads a project to turn a landmark Manhattan post office near Madison Square Garden into a railway depot, augmenting Pennsylvania Station and adding stores and offices.

The Port Authority board would have to approve the consolidation of the development corporation into the authority, a move that would be revenue-neutral, according to Cuomo’s statement.