Monday, September 24, 2012

PANYNJ to study extending PATH rail service to Newark Liberty International Airport

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners approved long-awaited plans to consider extending the World Trade Center-Newark PATH rail line to Newark Liberty International Airport.

The study will explore the extension of the current terminus of the PATH line at Newark's Penn Station to the existing Northeast Corridor's Rail Link Station, where travelers could pick up AirTrain Newark for connection to the airport's terminals and parking lots.

Currently, nearly 75 percent of Newark Liberty's air passenger market comes from New Jersey, with an additional 15 percent constituting Manhattan residents. Residents from the city's four other boroughs and other parts of New York state represent nearly nine percent of users.

If the project is pursued, potential benefits to the region would include more than $600 million in design and construction activity over the project's life, while adding permanent jobs for the link's operation. Customers in Lower Manhattan and in New Jersey would be able to cut their travel times to and from the airport.

In addition, extending PATH to Newark Liberty would bring another cross-Hudson rail option to commuters. New Jerseyans who work in Lower Manhattan would be able to access a one-seat ride to the World Trade Center by potentially parking at Newark Airport, which also will be part of the study. Finally, the PATH extension would serve as an option for visitors to Lower Manhattan and the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. By boarding PATH at Newark Liberty, they would be only one ride away from their destination.

"Mass transit options to our airports are essential to the future growth and economic vitality of our region," said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. "We need another mass-transit link to Newark Liberty International Airport, which served nearly 34 million passengers last year, so this initiative is of utmost importance. We will move quickly to make it a reality."

The study will result in updated cost estimates for the extension, anticipated ridership and potential construction timeframes. Additionally, the review will provide additional benefits of the extension for commuters and other riders not traveling to and from the airport.

The study also will help develop plans for necessary property acquisition, provide a cost/benefit analysis of moving forward and spur coordination with the port authority's regional and national transportation partners on funding and planning initiatives.

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