Lawyer turned government wonk Anthony Coscia, the head of the Port Authority, wasn’t supposed to be political. Nonetheless, he’s suing to block the White House’s Dubai Ports World deal while navigating the treacherous ego battles over the rebuilding of the World Trade Center on PA-owned land. Coscia spoke to Greg Sargent.
You’ve been yelling about port security since long before the Dubai deal. What can be done?
We need to say to ports around the world, “We need new safety standards if you want to do business with the United States.” We’re all gonna have to lock arms to solve this problem.
So has the Bush administration failed on this critical national-security question?
Leadership has to come from the federal government. And that hasn’t happened.
Why sue to block the Dubai ports takeover?
They never even told us about the deal, and the operator hasn’t been fully vetted.
You’d think they might have called.
Chuck Schumer’s called for the PA to anchor the Freedom Tower. Where do you want to move?
It makes more sense to put the PA on the eastern site so it anchors buildings three and four and creates half a million square feet of retail. If all we do is focus on the Freedom Tower, it may be far more financially viable for Larry Silverstein, but it won’t advance the cause of rebuilding lower Manhattan.
Outside of ground zero, what should the PA do next?
It’s time to think about a fourth major airport.
But what if you’re just trying to get to work?
We need to create an E-Z Pass–type card for commuting by train, so no matter whether you’re riding the path, New Jersey transit, or New York subway, you can use one card. Almost half of city commuters come in from New Jersey—a percentage that is only getting bigger. So a new commuter-rail tunnel under the Hudson will do more to ensure continued prosperity than any other project of our generation. Next: The Dirty Truth of NYC’s Subway Bathrooms