Press Release Article


Date: Sep 23, 2004
Press Release Number: 117-2004

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today made a significant financial commitment toward a major regional transportation project that will provide for future growth in trans-Hudson rail travel.

The Board approved $10 million to advance plans that will reduce rush-hour crowding on NJ Transit platforms at New York’s Pennsylvania Station and lay the groundwork for expanded commuter rail service.

This funding supports a broader initiative known as Access to the Region’s Core, a transportation planning effort led by NJ Transit exploring ways to meet the region’s growing demand for commuter, intercity and airport access services through this decade. NJ Transit’s goal is to develop a staged plan to double trans-Hudson rush-hour rail service through a new tunnel connected to the existing station and new platforms in the immediate area.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “For more than 80 years, the Port Authority has been charged with being a leader in maintaining critical transportation facilities throughout the region and in planning for future growth in bistate travel. With a limited ability to handle more traffic at some of our trans-Hudson tunnels, it is imperative that we begin to work now on plans to accommodate increased mass transit use. Today’s commitment by the Board underscores the importance of the Access to the Region’s Core initiative as a means to keep our economy strong and our region moving forward.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Penn Station was built to accommodate approximately 200,000 passengers, yet today more than 500,000 passengers pass through the complex daily. This action by the Port Authority is a logical compliment to Governor Pataki’s commitment to redevelop the Farley Post Office Building as a 21st century gateway to New York.”

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “There are limited options today for commuters traveling between New York and New Jersey for work, shopping or recreation. The Port Authority is dedicated to promoting efficient regional mobility. Creating a shared regional agenda for Penn Station improvements best ensures that we can accommodate long-term ridership growth while easing congestion at the Lincoln Tunnel and on midtown streets.”

The funds approved today by the Board will allow NJ Transit to undertake engineering for a project to connect NJ Transit platforms with an expanded central corridor in the existing New York Penn Station and a new concourse extending into the planned Moynihan Station across Eighth Avenue. This concourse work, scheduled to be completed by 2010, would allow NJ Transit passengers to exit and enter the platforms more quickly during peak travel hours, when stairways are most congested. The improvements also support the introduction of higher-capacity bilevel commuter rail cars expected to go into service in 2006.

Some of the funds also will be used to support expanded coordination among NJ Transit, the MTA, Amtrak, and the Port Authority as the agencies prepare plans for improved and expanded rail service on the commuter network and on the Northeast Corridor rail lines.

Last year, NJ Transit began an environmental review for the Access to the Region’s Core project, with the Port Authority as a cooperating sponsor, encompassing near- and long-term improvements necessary to meet future demands for bistate rail service. That review is ongoing.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.