A couple of quick points, Mayor Giulianni has nothing to do with what the Port Authority does. The Port Authority is a Bi- State agency with both Governors of NY and NJ having control, each has to approve PA projects.
Mayor Giulianni made alot of comments about the Port Authority, but he's just being annoying. He commented that he wanted LGA and JFK to be owned by the City and handed over to a private operator like BAA, the only problem is that the Port Authority's lease with the City for JFK and LGA does not expire untill 2015. The Mayor leaves offices this November, so he won't be around when that time comes. Second Governor Pataki is the one who was instrumental in the redevelopment of JFK, as former Governor Whitman was for the redevelopment of EWR and the Port of Newark/Elizabeth.
Governor Pataki does not want JFK or LGA to be controlled by the City because if that happens the PA would lose a significant source of revenue, revenue that NY State draws on to help fund other non airport and non Port Authority projects like the new Farley Penn Station or East side access to Grand Central for LIRR customers. These are multi year multi Billion dollar projects for which NY State relies heavily on the Port Authority to help fund. If the PA were too lose the revenue from LGA and JFK the State would lose the significant amount of aide they receive from the PA for their own pet projects.
The Mayor wanted that money JFK and LGA brought in for the City, but that's not going to happen because the money JFK and LGA bring are too important to the State. Also local opposition from residents near the airports has killed the Mayor's dream of taking over JFK and LGA because of the residents opposition to turining the airports over to a private operator. Right now nothing happens at the airports without the Governor's approval, if a private operator came in they could do what they wanted in and around the airport without residents being able to stop them.
With Port Authority control there are people who have to answer to local residents, no politician running for office in the City or State would want to be accused of being anti-enviroment or anti- family by allowing a private operator build new runways or new jet fuel farms next to peoples homes schools etc.. That's the main reason there is no direct link from JFK to Manhattan, there's an old LIRR right of way that runs very close to JFK that could have easily been restored to allow a direct one seat ride from NY to JFK. However locals killed that plan through the City council ,the Airtrain in development now is a compromise for local NIMBYS who fought against a rail line being run through their yards. The new Airtrain is a light rail to Jamaica station in Queens which is elevated over the Van Wyck expressway, it does not encroach on residential neighborhoods. From Jamiaca travelers will have to change to a LIRR train for the trip to Manhattan.
The Mayor had alot of dreams, he also wanted the city to take back control of the Subways and busses. However the State MTA is not going to give up control, the State took over the Subways and buses in NYC during the City's fiscal crisis. What your really dealing with when you hear the Mayor shoot his mouth off about wanting this or that from the Port Authority is his frustration with the Governor of NY. The Mayor and Governor are both Republicans, but they do not get along due to the fact that when Pataki was running against incumbent Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo Mayor Giulianni endorsed and campigned for Cuomo (a Democrat) not Pataki ( a fellow Republican). The Mayor was not loyal to his party and has paid the price because Pataki beat Cuomo in a landslide
The City is way different compared to 10 years ago, and much of that has to do with Mayor Giulianni. But Governor Pataki is a much better politician, and a more likable individual. Much of NYC's success lies with the Governor too, and the Governor is much more informed and active in transportation in NY State. He's redeveloped the Up State airports and brought in low fare carriers like Jet Blue and WN to lower fares, he's also expanding the MTA.
The Port Authority has done many things to help NY City and State , the Port Authority loaned the State MTA the money to build the Verrazano Bridge and at the insistance of former NY Governor (Rockefeller?..) the Port Authority built and operated the World Trade Center. The PA just announced last month that they would lease the World Trade center for 99 years to a private developer for $3 billion cash up front, I can't imagine what the NY skyline would look like if the PA had not built the World Trade Center.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757