Date: Dec 08, 2003
Press Release Number: 888-2003
STATE OF NEW YORK
GEORGE E. PATAKI, GOVERNOR
Governor George E. Pataki today announced that the Port Authority\'s state-of-the-art AirTrain JFK rail system, which will provide fast, reliable and convenient transportation to, from and around John F. Kennedy International Airport, will begin passenger service on December 17, 2003 - the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers\' first flight.
Governor Pataki said, \"We are truly excited to introduce this innovative rail system, whose trains will literally soar over roadway traffic. AirTrain JFK will allow travelers from throughout the region to connect to passenger terminals at Kennedy Airport in record time, saving people countless hours while making an invaluable contribution to our quality of life.\"
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, \"This project, along with AirTrain Newark, is an important part of the vision and commitment of Governor Pataki and Governor McGreevey in improving and enhancing our regional transportation network with cutting-edge public projects. We already have seen great success with AirTrain Newark, which opened two years ago and has enjoyed tremendous popularity, serving thousands of customers every day. We expect AirTrain JFK to provide the same high level of service and dependability for those who will use it to travel to and from JFK, and to connect between airline terminals, rental car lots and parking areas at the airport.\"
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, \"AirTrain JFK is going to reduce congestion on roadways near the airports, provide dozens of permanent jobs and contribute to the ongoing revitalization of neighborhoods in Queens. And, of course, it also will help ensure JFK\'s continued economic strength and reaffirm the airport\'s position as one of the world\'s premier international gateways.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"It\'s a tribute and testament to the people of the Port Authority that this massive undertaking - a $1.9 billion, five-year construction project - is being completed as they simultaneously rebuild the World Trade Center while still healing from the loss of 84 colleagues lost on September 11, 2001. \"So many people have worked cooperatively for years to make this project a reality. The Port Authority shares this success with its neighboring communities, the congressional delegation, and the numerous agencies that have been our agency\'s partners - 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.\"
Beginning December 17, passengers will be able to use, free of charge, the six stations in the Central Terminal Area loop for easy connections among all terminals; the Lefferts Boulevard Station for long-term and employee parking; and the Federal Circle Station for car rentals. Service between the Howard Beach and the Jamaica Station AirTrain terminals and the on-airport stations will cost $5 for a single trip. Monthly passes offering unlimited trips will cost $40. Terminals at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station will enable airport passengers and employees to make more than 1,500 fast, easy, convenient and reliable connections every day between the airport and the A, E, J and Z subway lines; Long Island Rail Road trains; and buses. Service from Penn Station in Manhattan to JFK\'s terminals via AirTrain JFK is projected to take less than 45 minutes; the trip from midtown Manhattan to JFK can presently take more than two hours by car or taxi. The approximately 8-mile light-rail system is expected to serve 34,000 passengers per day at the start.
Construction of the $1.9 billion system used no state or federal taxes. Its construction was funded through a combination of Port Authority funds and revenue from an existing $3 surcharge on departing passengers at the New York City airports under the Passenger Facility Charge program. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-PortAuthority 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.