Stewart International Airport was taken over today by Port Authority officials, who promised to remake the underutilized Hudson Valley airport into a bustling hub for New York City-area travelers. The three major New York City area airports - Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia - are struggling with maximum capacity and chronic flight delays. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials hope that Stewart, located in Newburgh, N.Y., about 60 miles north of New York City, will relieve the pressure by luring passengers from the city's northern suburbs and northern New Jersey. "The Port Authority has the resources and expertise to help Stewart Airport realize its potential as a major transportation hub for this vastly expanding region," said Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The Port Authority in January agreed to spend $78.5 million to assume a private company's lease to operate the former U.S. Air Force base through 2099. Agency officials believe Stewart could handle 1.5 million passengers annually, up from about 300,000 last year. That would put a small dent in business for the other three big airports, which handled 103 million passengers last year, but officials say it will ease the pressure.