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Rail News: Passenger Rail
PANYNJ OKs billions in funding for AirTrain, PATH projects
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's (PANYNJ) board last week advanced $4.5 billion in infrastructure projects, including dollars for the new AirTrain program at LaGuardia International Airport in Queens, New York, and a project to replace the existing AirTrain system into and out of Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
The projects were approved to accommodate continuing record passenger growth at the port authority's airports, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.
The board authorized $2.05 billion to develop AirTrain LaGuardia, which would connect the airport with a new station at Willets Point linked to enhanced MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service to and from New York City.
Now undergoing federal environmental review, the proposed project would connect riders to the AirTrain via LIRR's Port Washington line or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's No. 7 Line subway. The proposal includes three stations: two on the airport and one serving the two rail Mets-Willets point stations; and an operations, maintenance and storage facility next to the Willets Point Station.
AirTrain LaGuardia would be established under a design-build-operate-maintain project delivery.
In May, the Federal Aviation Administration began the project's formal environmental review.
For AirTrain Newark, the board authorized $2.05 billion to build a new AirTrain to replace the existing 3-mile monorail system that opened in 1996 and has outlived its useful life, PANYNJ officials said.
AirTrain Newark requires extensive maintenance and repair and can no longer meet current or future demand, they said.
Today, AirTrain Newark carries an average 33,000 passengers a day or about 12 million passengers a year. It provides access to the Northeast Corridor Rail Link and allows travelers and employees the ability to transfer between terminals, parking lots and rental car facilities.
Also last week, the PANYNJ's board in a separate action authorized $78.6 million to enable Port Authority-Trans Hudson (PATH) station facilities and platforms to accommodate longer nine-car trains on the Newark-World Trade Center line. The nine-car expansion is a vital part of the $1 billion PATH Improvement Plan unveiled earlier this year, port authority officials said in a press release.
The modifications will affect the Grove Street, Exchange Place, Journal Square and Newark stations. The project is set to begin third-quarter 2020, with a targeted completion date of second-quarter 2022.
The project involves design, construction and engineering work on the platforms at the four stations. The board's authorization also advances conceptual planning for a future expansion to 10-car trains, port authority officials said.
“This is a critical step in bringing better service and quicker, more efficient commutes to riders,” said PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “With the great strides already taken in implementing new signal systems and easily accessed, real-time travel information, it’s an important day for PATH and our customers.”
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.