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Transportation boom in NYC: Land, sea, air traffic up by 15 percent

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New York City has experienced a surge in activities at airports, bridges and tunnels, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a record-breaking 32 million passengers traveled through the region’s major airports in the first quarter of the year.

John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia airports all witnessed an increase in passenger flow, with Newark and LaGuardia being particularly popular. LaGuardia saw 7.2 million passengers, up from 6.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, while Newark received 11.1 million passengers, up from 10.4 million.

This growth in New York City’s air travel contrasts with the national trend observed by the U.S. Travel Association. While nationwide air travel briefly exceeded 2019 levels in January, it declined in February and March. However, overall air travel demand in the United States has remained close to or slightly below pre-pandemic levels in recent weeks.

Not only has there been an increase in air travel, but land-based transportation has also seen a rise. The Port Authority’s bridge and tunnel crossings, including the Goethels, Bayonne, and George Washington bridges, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and the Outerbridge Crossing, witnessed a 3% increase in New York-bound traffic compared to the first quarter of 2019. In the first three months of this year, a total of 28.7 million vehicles entered the city, marking the highest traffic during that period since 2008.

Truck traffic, in particular, has experienced significant growth, with a 15% increase compared to 2019 levels. The Trucking Association of New York attributes this rise to the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package passed in November, which includes funding for various projects in the New York area. Construction projects associated with the infrastructure bill have sparked a trucking boom, as trucks transport materials from the port to job sites across the region. Consequently, trucking companies are investing in new equipment and hiring additional drivers.

The Port Authority’s data also reveals that freight movement remains consistent with pre-pandemic levels, with the port handling the equivalent of 1.8 million 20-foot cargo containers during the first quarter of this year. This reflects a strong recovery in trade and economic activity.

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