Press Release Article


Date: Jul 15, 2002
Press Release Number: 81-2002

The Port Authority today announced that construction of AirTrain JFK is on schedule and nearing completion, with service set to begin at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the fourth quarter of this year. The $1.9 billion light-rail system will provide fast, dependable service to and from Kennedy Airport on an 8.1-mile elevated guideway structure.

All 32 AirTrain JFK vehicles have been delivered to Kennedy Airport, the concrete guideway structure is complete, and construction at most of the passenger stations and power substations along the AirTrain JFK route is substantially done.

The Port Authority today also announced that ridership continues to rise on AirTrain JFK’s counterpart, Newark International Airport’s AirTrain Newark. Ridership has been steadily increasing since service began in October 2001. Average ridership in recent months is nearing 3,000 people per day, and is expected to grow throughout the summer. The highest one-day total for ridership took place on May 24, when 5,311 passengers rode AirTrain Newark. Overall, nearly 600,000 passengers have used the system since its opening.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Less than four years ago, when we broke ground on the AirTrain JFK project, I said that we were writing a new chapter in New York history. Today, we stand poised to fulfill that vision and revolutionize the way people travel to and from this region. And as always, we remain committed to ensuring the safety and security of our travelers as we create new and better modes of transportation.”

New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “Newark International Airport, which plays a major role in the New Jersey economy, has become a more popular and convenient option as a result of the service provided by AirTrain Newark. The service provides individuals with dependable transportation to the airport while also relieving traffic congestion and reducing pollution.”

Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “These two vital transportation projects demonstrate the Port Authority’s ongoing commitment to improve the region’s transportation systems with carefully planned investments. This agency has emerged from the tragedy of September 11 more determined than ever to deliver on this mission.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Together, AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark have provided enormous economic benefits to the region, combining to create 5,450 jobs paying $680 million in wages while generating more than $1.5 billion in sales of goods and services.”

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “With these two projects, we are providing an important service that improves our quality of life: quick, reliable and direct mass-transit options to JFK and Newark airports, which serve more than 60 million passengers per year and tens of thousands of employees who travel to these facilities. Projects as ambitious as these two AirTrain systems are a testament to the ability of this agency to address great challenges, and to succeed.”

Port Authority Priority Capital Programs Director Anthony G. Cracchiolo said, “The success of these projects would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of our neighboring communities, local, city and state elected officials, our congressional delegations, and the numerous agencies that have been our partners – NJ Transit and Amtrak in New Jersey, and in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Long Island Rail Road, New York City Transit, the New York State and New York City Departments of Transportation, and the Air Rail Transit Consortium, which includes Slattery Skanska and Bombardier and their partners.”

AirTrain JFK will begin service at Kennedy Airport’s Central Terminal Area, the rental car area, employee and long-term parking, and to the new Howard Beach AirTrain Terminal in the fourth quarter of this year. Service to the Jamaica Station AirTrain Terminal will begin in the second quarter of 2003.

Passengers will be able to travel from midtown Manhattan to the Central Terminal Area in about 50 minutes using the MTA’s A subway line to connect to AirTrain JFK at the new Howard Beach AirTrain Terminal.

Service from midtown Manhattan to JFK using the new Jamaica AirTrain Terminal will take as little as 30 minutes from an express Long Island Rail Road train, and about 40 minutes with the E train. Travelers to JFK also will be able to connect to AirTrain JFK by using more than 700 daily Long Island Rail Road trains and the MTA’s A and E lines, as well as the J and Z subway lines and a dozen local bus lines.

Passengers will be able to make rapid airline connections from terminal to terminal by using AirTrain JFK vehicles that will circulate exclusively within the Central Terminal Area.

All 32 AirTrain JFK vehicles have been delivered to Kennedy Airport and nearly half the vehicles are completely outfitted for service. Construction at the 10 passenger stations, which include state-of-the-art terminals at Howard Beach and Jamaica, and eight stations that will serve the airport’s Central Terminal Area, the Federal Circle/Rental Car area, and Long Term/Employee Parking, is progressing on schedule.

The entire elevated concrete guideway structure for the system is complete, and construction of power substations also is substantially complete, with work on five of the seven stations along the system more than 95 percent done. Testing of equipment and AirTrain vehicles began in October, and will continue throughout the year.

To pay for the project, the Port Authority is using $600 million in capital funds and $1.3 billion from the FAA-authorized Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) program, which allows airport operators across the country to collect a $3 fee from all departing passengers to use toward airport-related projects. No state or city tax revenue is being used to fund the project.

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