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Port Authority is 'dysfunctional,' audit says

World Trade Center

World Trade Center Credit: Getty

The Port Authority is a "challenged and dysfunctional organization" that needs a "top-to-bottom overhaul" -- and that's according to the agency itself.

In a report to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie, who jointly oversee the agency, its board of commissioners said the Port Authority is "suffering from a lack of consistent leadership, a siloed underlying bureaucracy, poorly coordinated capital planning processes, insufficient cost controls," and a host of other problems, including mismanagement at the World Trade Center.

Costs of rebuilding the site have ballooned from $11 billion to nearly $15 billion, and may increase by another billion if problems aren't fixed, according to the audit.

The commissioners also found that employee salaries skyrocketed in the last five years, with compensation and benefits averaging $143,000 annually for Port Authority staffers. They said the largest contributor to the higher pay was "add-on" compensation, including overtime and cashing in unused vacation days, that made up nearly a quarter of employees' paychecks.

In a joint statement, the governors said the report "makes clear that wide-ranging reform is long overdue."

"This record of historic failure must be reversed," they said. "We will demand nothing short of the agency's implementation of comprehensive recommendations and reform to achieve this critical mission."

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