Board Also Approves Facility’s New Operating Contract
Taking the next step in a major redevelopment plan to increase rail freight capacity at the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners today authorized $5 million in planning and design funds for a project to expand the new ExpressRail Elizabeth Intermodal Facility at the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal from 10 to 18 tracks. The facility will commence operations in September.
Governor James E. McGreevey said, “Last year was a record-breaking year for the Port of New York and New Jersey, with total cargo tonnage increasing 12 percent over the previous year and growth expected to remain strong. To meet this demand, we are investing the resources now to create jobs and infrastructure so that our port may continue to play a critical role in our region’s economy.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Cargo volume at the existing ExpressRail facility has grown at an average of 17 percent a year since on-dock rail operations began in 1993. To manage this rapid growth, we’re working with our industry partners on rail and port investments that will provide a more efficient gateway to accommodate the continued trade growth that is so valuable to our region.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “Greater rail capacity at our port reduces transportation costs and roadway congestion. By building a strong rail system, we’re creating economic and environmental benefits for both the port community and the residents of the region.”
The authorization also provides for planning and design of a second lead track that will allow trains to arrive and depart the facility simultaneously, and the partial relocation of Bay Avenue to increase safety by minimizing the possibility of road/rail conflicts.
The Board also authorized a 10-year agreement with Millennium Rail, under which the firm will operate and maintain ExpressRail Elizabeth starting on or about September 1 of this year. Created especially to operate the new facility, Millennium Rail is a joint venture of APM Terminals North America, Inc. and Maher Terminals, Inc., the Port’s two largest tenants.
ExpressRail Elizabeth is part of a comprehensive $600 million rail program to develop the ExpressRail System, which will create dedicated rail facilities for the Port’s major container terminals and additional rail support track. These facilities include ExpressRail Elizabeth, ExpressRail Port Newark, ExpressRail Staten Island at Howland Hook Marine Terminal, as well as the ExpressRail Corbin Street Intermodal Support Facility and expanded rail infrastructure on Staten Island.
The Port of New York and New Jersey generates 228,000 jobs and contributes $14.6 billion to the New York/New Jersey regional economy.
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.