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Port of New York Authority v. City of Newark

Decided: January 16, 1956.

THE PORT OF NEW YORK AUTHORITY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
THE CITY OF NEWARK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Essex County.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.

Wachenfeld

The effort here is to reverse a judgment of the Superior Court, Law Division, setting aside tax assessments levied by the City of Newark for the years 1952 and 1953 on property owned by the Port of New York Authority and known as the Newark Union Motor Truck Terminal, or Inland Terminal No. 3. Because of the importance of the question presented, we granted certification prior to disposition of the case in the Appellate Division.

In 1921, following the report of the New York, New Jersey Port and Harbor Development Commission, the States of New York and New Jersey entered into a Compact, consented

to by Congress, in which the two states specifically pledged to each other their "faithful co-operation in the future planning and development" of the Port of New York. To effectuate the broad purpose of the Compact, the Legislatures created a body corporate and politic known as the "'Port of New York Authority,'" which they endowed, inter alia, with "full power and authority to purchase, construct, lease and/or operate any terminal or transportation facility within said district; and to make charges for the use thereof * * *." See N.J.S.A. 32:1-2, 4, 7.

In 1922 the two Legislatures adopted a "Comprehensive Plan for the Development of the Port of New York," N.J.S.A. 32:1-25 et seq., which stated certain principles to govern the development of the Port as follows (N.J.S.A. 32:1-26):

"First -- That terminal operations within the port district, so far as economically practicable, should be unified;

Second -- That there should be consolidation of shipments at proper classification points, so as to eliminate duplication of effort, inefficient loading of equipment, and realize reduction in expenses;

Third -- That there should be the most direct routing of all commodities, so as to avoid centers of congestion, conflicting currents and long truck hauls;

Fourth -- That terminal stations established under the comprehensive plan should be union stations, so far as practicable; * * *."

From the foregoing it may readily be seen that the purposes for which the Port of New York Authority was created, as set forth in the Compact of 1921 and the statement of principles contained in the 1922 Comprehensive Plan, specifically envisioned and authorized the construction and operation by the Port of New York Authority of union freight terminal facilities.

Pursuant to the legislative mandate the Port of New York Authority undertook a study of the freight terminal needs of the Port. The first tangible result of the study was the construction of a railroad freight terminal station in the City of New York known as Inland Terminal No. 1, which was completed in 1932. This terminal facility provides for the trans-shipment of less than carload railroad freight to

delivery points within the metropolitan area. By 1939, however, it became apparent that motor trucks were, to a large extent, displacing railroad carriers in the haulage of small freight shipments, with the result that the bridge and tunnel facilities of the Port Authority and local streets and highways were suffering extreme congestion.

A study was initiated by the Port Authority in 1939 to ascertain the advisability of construction by the Port Authority of union motor truck terminals. The first Staff Report was submitted in 1941 and recommended the construction of a motor truck terminal in the City of New York, which has since been built and is known as Inland Terminal No. 2. The second Staff Report, submitted in 1945, proposed the ...


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