Agency to Overhaul Early 20th Century Technology
and Install New Fleet of PATH Cars
The Port Authority officials today announced a project that will lead to a capacity increase on the PATH system of 20 percent. The initiative is a key component of the agency’s $1.3 billion program to upgrade the aging rail system to handle the growing regional demand for mass transit.
The Board previously approved $809 million to replace PATH’s entire 340 car fleet. Today, the agency announced an additional $500 million, including overhauling the PATH signal system and enabling a significant increase in the number of train movements while improving on-time performance and efficiency. When both projects are complete, the nearly 100-year-old PATH system will have completely replaced infrastructure that is nearly 40 years old, among the oldest in the country.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “We are transforming the PATH system from the oldest rail system in the country into the newest. By bringing PATH into the 21st century, and investing $2 billion in a new passenger rail tunnel into Manhattan, the Port Authority is demonstrating again its commitment to ensuring that the region’s transportation infrastructure has the capacity it needs to allow our economy to prosper.”
Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “We must be able to handle a growing demand for regional travel in future years without putting an undue strain on our already overburdened vehicular crossings. The improved PATH system will provide us with the ability to take approximately 2,700 more vehicles off the road, providing a substantial environmental benefit by reducing an estimated 6,500 tons of carbon dioxide each year.”
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said, “I am pleased that the Port Authority is making this important investment in the PATH system, which will not only increase ridership but reduce congestion into and out of Jersey City on PATH trains. Public transportation is the mode of the future and this investment and these improvements will have a tremendous impact on Jersey City commuters.”
The capacity increase will be a significant improvement for PATH’s approximately 50,000 hourly riders in the rush hours, when trains are often extremely crowded.
The installation of the new signal system is scheduled to begin next year, with completion in 2014. New PATH cars will be phased into the system beginning next year and continuing through 2011.
The technology used for the existing 38-year-old signal system, known as a fixed-block system, dates to the early 20th century, when the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad was first constructed, and it limits PATH’s ability to adapt to increased capacity and service demands. Many components are no longer produced or supported, have exceeded their expected useful lifespan, and have become increasingly unavailable when replacements are needed.
Featuring state-of-the-art automatic train control, the new signals system will improve reliability and efficiency, and allow PATH to run trains closer together, reducing headways and increasing frequency.
Safety enhancements will include continuous over-speed protection, which prevents trains from exceeding speed limits, and passengers’ comfort will be improved because trains will travel more smoothly as they arrive and depart stations.
PATH presently carries approximately 227,000 passenger trips each weekday and approximately 67 million annually.
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.