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Port Authority has spent $110M on OT so far this year, officials say

Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye participates in

Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye participates in a question-and-answer session in New York, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Credit: AP

Port Authority employees were paid $110 million in overtime for the first half of this year, with more than 40 percent of that amount going to its police, officials said Thursday at the agency's monthly meeting in lower Manhattan.

Heightened security, inclement weather, attrition and unplanned visits by dignitaries have forced agency workers to collectively put in an extra 1 million hours of work in the first six months, officials said.

"How many times does the president come? Pope Francis is going to come in September. Happily, he's going to come through a Port facility, JFK Airport. He's going to leave from a Port facility. He's going to come to the 9/11 Museum," said Patrick Foye, executive director of the bi-state agency, which operates bridges, tunnels and the area's major airports. "Those are things no one knew about, and we didn't budget for."

So far this year, the authority has spent $100,000 in police overtime to provide security for President Barack Obama's visits to New York City, including two trips this month. There are no estimated costs yet for the papal visit, which is two months away.

The police force, with 1,600 officers, pulled in $46 million in overtime pay between January and June. Compared with the same period last year when police overtime reached $62 million, officials said, this year's spending represents a reduction of 25.8 percent.

"We are making more progress than we've ever made in terms of controlling police overtime, but we've got a great deal of work still to do," Foye said.

The Port Authority's police budget for 2015 was $423.7 million, officials said. The amount budgeted for police overtime this year was $96.3 million, they said.

At Thursday's meeting, officials also said they plan to reconfigure gates at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan as part of the agency's effort to reduce overcrowding and delay.

Each day, more than 200,000 riders pass through the terminal, the busiest in the nation. Critics have urged the authority's commissioners to spend money to upgrade the 65-year-old terminal.

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