Thursday, September 12, 2013

PATH extension to get New Jersey nudge

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Nearly a year after PATH and parent Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PA) announced plans to study a PATH extension toward (not to) Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reportedly appears ready to back the proposal.

The proposed $1 billion project would extend PATH rail service south from its current terminus at Newark-Penn Station, roughly paralleling the Northeast Corridor to a new terminus roughly one mile south at Newark Airport/Rail Station.

From the Airport/Rail Station, PATH riders, joining Amtrak and New Jersey Transit customers, would travel to or from the airport via the existing monorail link.

Gov. Christie reportedly was set to endorse the proposal publicly, but has canceled that announcement. But the expected backing would facilitate inclusion of the project in the PA's upcoming $30 billion capital program, which also needs to be approved by New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The extension would improve rail access between the airport and downtown Manhattan, as well as New Jersey urban locations in Jersey City and Hoboken, reducing (though not eliminating) transfer moves. Riders using PATH currently must switch to an NJ Transit train between Newark-Penn and Newark Airport/Rail Station, with transfers often proving to be time-consuming.

The extension would also be the first for PATH under the PA’s stewardship of the bistate, 13-station system, which the Port Authority acquired in 1962.