Mobilizing the Metropolis

In the spring of 2023, the University of Michigan Press will release Mobilizing the Metropolis: How the Port Authority Built New York written by Dr. Plotch and Jen Nelles (senior research fellow at the Oxford Brookes Business School in England.)

About the Book

For over a century, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been one of America's most powerful government agencies. It overcame enormous obstacles to build the world's tallest towers and longest suspension bridge, along with the planet's busiest bus terminal and bridge. What lessons does its history offer to other cities and regions in the United States and beyond? In a time when public agencies are often condemned as inefficient and corrupt, this history provides important lessons for governmental officials and social reformers.

Mobilizing the Metropolis reveals a struggle between the public and private sectors, the challenges of balancing democratic accountability and efficiency, and the tension between regional and local needs. It is an important and engaging account of a powerful governmental entity that offers durable lessons on collaboration, leadership, and the challenge of overcoming complex political challenges in modern America.


“Plotch and Nelles offer a novel framework that identifies several factors that explain both the Port Authority’s successes and failures. Anyone who is interested in urban politics, regionalism, urban planning, state and local government, or more specifically in the New York metro area, will find this a fascinating book.”
—Richardson Dilworth, Drexel University

“This book provides a detailed economic history of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. Yet it is also a work that addresses a number of key questions concerning the political economy of large public organizations. Given the economic and cultural significance of the Port Authority and the key infrastructures for which it is responsible, this is an important contribution with international relevance.”
—Iain Docherty, University of Stirling