The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners today approved a memorandum of understanding with NJ Transit that makes the Port Authority a partner agency in the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel and gives the agency the primary responsibility for real estate acquisition and construction management in New York.
The Board’s actions will advance the planning and development of the project, also known as Access to the Region’s Core. The initiative will create a second passenger rail tunnel connecting Manhattan to New Jersey, and includes expanding track and platform capacity adjacent to Penn Station New York beneath 34th Street in Manhattan.
The document establishes a framework for the Port Authority and NJ Transit to enter into a formal agreement to advance the project’s planning, development, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, construction and related activities.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “This is exactly the type of major construction project that the Port Authority was created to do. It will allow this agency to use its extensive engineering expertise to provide much-needed capacity enhancement for interstate travel, and will help ensure that the regional economy remains strong.”
Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “We must commit to ARC now to ensure our region’s economic health for years to come. Millions of commuters now use the region’s roads, rails, bridges and tunnels each day, and projections call for extensive growth across the metropolitan area in the next 10 to 20 years. If we don’t act to relieve future burdens on the region’s transportation network, we won’t be ready to deal with these new commuters when they arrive, and the region’s economic vitality will suffer. By starting early, we’re ensuring that our region is primed for growth.”
Under the memorandum of understanding, a steering committee consisting of an equal number of staff from the Port Authority and NJ Transit will be formed to provide oversight and leadership for the project. NJ Transit will be primarily responsible for real estate acquisition and construction management in New Jersey.
The Port Authority’s Board has previously committed up to $2 billion towards the project, inclusive of up to $75 million for the identification and acquisition of property in New York City needed for the tunnel project, as well as $10 million for preliminary planning and engineering activities associated with the project. The project includes improvements to the Northeast Corridor rail line, the purchase of coaches and locomotives, and the acquisition of property or property rights.
NJ Transit recently released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project and public hearings ended this week. The comment period ends on April 10.
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 and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit 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.
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