New Jersey’s Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation has been in talks for decades with New Jersey to add a rail line directly to Newark airport. The rail would help alleviate traffic in the state and make it easier for travelers to get to-and-from Newark Liberty International Airport.
The PATH extension would add a 2.4 mile rail that extends from Newark Penn Station to the airport.
Port Authority announced earlier in 2017 that the agency has added the $1.7 billion extension project to their 10-year capital plan. The agency has set aside just $15 million for the plan in its 2018 budget, with plans of the rail being fully complete by 2026.
The rail will have a direct impact on local taxi services, Uber drivers and airport limo transportation services that transport airline passengers to the airport or from the airport to their final destination. Port Authority expects $700 million of the project to be funded with grants. The remaining $1 billion will be paid for by self-generated revenues.
Port Authority has been discussing the extension since the late 1970s. The project gained support, but it never materialized. The extension came back into the public spotlight in 2004 when Port Authority estimated the extension to cost $500 million.
The authority held off on its plans until 2012 when they accepted a project study. In 2014, the project, then valued at $1.5 billion, was added into the Port Authority’s 10-year, $27.6 billion plan. Construction schedules were then outlined, and the project completion date was set for 2023 before Bridgegate caused the project to be delayed.
The price tag for the extension has since risen by $200 million.
The project was then back on the table in December 2016 and is now as close as ever to being started and completed by 2026.
Port Authority then asked the public for their input in November 2017. Two public hearings were slated to be heard: one on November 28 and the second on November 30. The hearings were to take public concerns into consideration.
Residents welcome the new rail, which is said to deliver a one-seat ride from Newark airport to Lower Manhattan. Frustration from residents in the South Ward came to light during the public hearings with one resident stating, “We in the community of the South hasn’t had access to that train station for 20 years. ”
“That’s an insult,” he added.
Scott Ladd, a spokesman for Port Authority, claims that employees who work at the airport also live in the South Ward. He claims that the new rail link will reduce the commute time of many of these employees and will offer transportation at an affordable price.
Ladd reaffirms Port Authority’s goal of completing the new rail link by 2026, but says “we’re hoping the project will be fully completed by 2026.”
The rail line will be planned, designed, constructed and reviewed while the normal PATH service continues. Locals that rely on Port Authority to get to other terminals will not be impacted by the new train link added.