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Port Authority plans to hire 250 new police officers to protect airports, tunnels

Port Authority police officers patrol the area around

Port Authority police officers patrol the area around the bus terminal on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Yana Paskova

The Port Authority will add 250 new cops next year to its force, officials said Monday.

The officers, who will protect the city's airports and crossings like the Holland Tunnel, will make up two new classes, at a cost of $26 million.

The new recruits will bolster the Port Authority's law enforcement force, which has about 1,800 cops. Officials said 60 cops will retire this year.

The rookies may also have new responsibilities in counterterrorism and firefighting, but no cops would be dedicated exclusively to those tasks.

They will train at the Port Authority's police academy in Jersey City, studying subjects like law-enforcement and first aid.

The Port Authority's budget for next year also includes almost $1 billion for the World Trade Center, including its delayed transportation hub.

There is also about $460 million to rehab Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, which is used by airlines like Jet Blue Airways and Virgin America.

The Port Authority also budgeted $4 million to bring the PATH from Newark Penn Station to the Newark Airport Station, so that passengers can travel directly from lower Manhattan.

The Global Gateway Alliance, which advocates for airport passengers, said it was glad to see the project on the budget because there was concern that extension could be shelved since the Port Authority has many massive new projects, such as replacing their Times Square bus terminal. However, they said no formal budget for the project has been released or a timeline given.

"The Port Authority's budget shows a commitment to the first phases of vital projects, like overhauling LaGuardia and a one seat PATH ride to Newark Liberty, to finally bring our airports into the 21st Century," said Joe Sitt, the Alliance's chairman. "But the agency needs to not just start these projects, but commit to completing them for the 120 million passengers who use our airports every year."

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