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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's (PANYNJ) board yesterday approved a $3.2 billion operating budget and $3.4 billion capital budget for 2018.The budgets — which contain no fare or toll increases — will fund agency efforts to enhance security, improve customer service, invest in sustainability and environmental protection, undertake state-of-good repair work and build new transportation facilities, according to a PANYNJ press release.The capital budget includes funding for planning related to the AirTrain project; implementing a positive train control system for the PATH rail system by Dec. 31, 2018; planning activities for a PATH extension to a Newark Liberty International Airport rail link station; construction of an intermodal container transfer facility at Greenville Yards at the Port Jersey Marine Terminal; and support for the planning phase of the Gateway Passenger-Rail Tunnel projects."This budget was crafted following a painstaking review of our finances and our needs to ensure we are investing in projects that are critical to our mission of rebuilding aging infrastructure," said PANYNJ Vice Chairman Jeffrey Lynford.Also yesterday, the board authorized the purchase of 50 new rail cars, a substation replacement and state-of-good repair projects for the PATH system. PANYNJ will purchase the cars from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. and retain an option to eventually acquire another 22 cars, subject to further board action. The car acquisition is funded under a $150 million allocation in the port authority’s 10-year capital plan adopted earlier this year. The cars are needed to accommodate PATH ridership growth. Ridership, which in 2016 reached a record 78.6 million passengers, is expected to exceed 80 million this year, with an average weekday ridership of nearly 300,000 passengers, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.Other PATH spending items approved yesterday include:• $79.5 million to replace and rehabilitate key components of the current fleet of 350 PA-5 rail cars, as part of PATH's maintenance cycle to ensure a continuing state of good repair. An additional $60 million was authorized for an overhaul of essential car components;• $70.6 million for replacement and upgrade of PATH power substation No. 14, located at the railroad’s maintenance yard in Harrison. The approval covers engineering and architectural costs for design and implementation. The substation was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012; and• $29.9 million for interlocking and track work at the Hoboken PATH station to repair extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
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