Press Release Article


Date: Apr 30, 2015
Press Release Number: 60-2015

Nearly 20-year-old current system is nearing the end of its useful life

Planning work to replace the aging AirTrain Newark system moved forward today with a $40 million planning commitment from the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners to study construction of a new system with enhanced capacity, better service and increased reliability.

AirTrain Newark is an integral part of Newark Liberty International Airport's landside transportation infrastructure, providing connectivity for passengers and airport employees traveling on-airport as well as to and from the airport on the regional rail transportation network. AirTrain Newark opened in 1996, first by serving the terminals, parking garages and rental facilities on the airport. Expansion in 2001 with the opening of the Newark Airport Rail Link station connected the AirTrain with NJ Transit and Amtrak trains running along the Northeast Corridor tracks, providing travelers with easy access to major urban centers including New York and Philadelphia.

Ridership has skyrocketed on AirTrain Newark over the past two decades, totaling nearly 2.2 million passengers in 2014. Each day, approximately 25,000 riders use the system, with more than two-thirds riding on-airport and the remainder traveling from the AirLink station via connections on the Northeast Corridor.

Age and maintenance issues, however, have required more work on the system in recent years, leading to more temporary closures for maintenance and repair, as the system approaches the end of its useful design life. The original AirTrain system was developed under a long-term design-build-operate-maintain agreement with Bombardier.

“AirTrain Newark is an important resource for passengers and workers at Newark Liberty, but like much of our regional transportation infrastructure it is showing its age," said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. "Today’s action will begin the process of updating the AirTrain system as part of the ongoing modernization and improvement of Newark Liberty."

"Our AirTrain systems are vital to the efficient movement of passengers and employees to and from our airports,” said Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler. "We will continue to make the necessary investments to modernize our existing infrastructure and to increase access to the region's airports."

Today’s action authorizes the agency to award an expert professional technical services contract for approximately $30 million to support the planning initiative. The action also authorizes preparation of a federal application to seek recovery of the $40 million planning cost through airport Passenger Facility Charges. Based on the results of the planning studies, which will include a review of funding, financing and project delivery alternatives, the full cost of the replacement project will be taken into account in upcoming reviews of the Port Authority’s 10-year Capital Plan.

Approximately 90 direct jobs both on- and off-site are anticipated by today’s award, with direct payroll wages of $8.3 million. Overall, taking direct and indirect jobs into consideration, this award is projected to create $60.6 million in economic activity over the life of the planning process.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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