Thursday, October 02, 2014

PATH (almost) airport extension advances

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The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to build an extension of PATH rapid transit service south of Newark-Penn Station toward – though not all the way to – Newark Liberty International Airport.

PA officials seek to begin construction of such an extension in early 2018, to take place over a five-year period. Regional critics on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 questioned the generous construction time frame, but were even harder on the projected price tag of $1.5 billion.

Less criticism has been aimed at the project's scope itself, with some noting the extended PATH service, while terminating at the existing airport/rail station on the Northeast Corridor for transfers to and from the airport monorail, will allow more direct access to growing key New Jersey urban areas such as Harrison, Jersey City, and Hoboken, as well as better access (with fewer transfers) to downtown Manhattan.

Other observers have noted the extended service would benefit not just travelers but airport workers residing in Essex and Hudson counties using the service to access jobs on airport grounds.

PATH officials in the path have allowed that PATH infrastructure could eventually be extended onto airport property and terminals, and would not be blocked by existing monorail infrastructure. But direct access all the way to the airport is not being considered under the current extension plan.

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