Port Authority Approves Airport, PATH Projects

Funding approved for new international terminal at Newark Airport, replacement for AirTrain monorail and upgrades to PATH stations

The Port Authority on Thursday signed off on two key parts of its ongoing remake of Newark Liberty International Airport, as well as a plan to ease congestion on PATH service to and from Manhattan by adding cars to trains.

Meeting at the World Trade Center, the bistate agency’s board of commissioners unanimously approved $29 million to plan for Terminal Two, a new international hub at Newark Airport, as well as more than $2 billion for an expanded replacement of the AirTrain monorail.

A companion $2.05 billion project — to build a wholly new AirTrain at LaGuardia Airport, connecting to both the LIRR and New York City subways — was also approved.

PATH congestion

Increasingly clogged PATH stations have irritated riders and officials in Jersey City for years, as the population along Hudson County’s waterfront has boomed. The Port Authority vote Thursday authorizes $78.6 million for remodeling stations to accommodate longer, nine-car trains.

A record 300,000 people now ride PATH trains every weekday, often making for a long wait for frustrated commuters.

“On Mondays, I probably miss like about five or six PATH trains before I can actually get on,” said PATH commuter Tonya Deodath.

“The implementation of nine-car train operations will enable PATH to achieve a 40% capacity increase on the Newark-World Trade Center line in 2022 and meet projected ridership demand through the next decade,” said Clarelle DeGraffe, general manager of PATH.

Plans call for heavy remodeling of the Grove Street station and new platform connections at Exchange Place, officials said. At Newark Penn Station, two platforms will be widened.

Officials said, despite the fast-track timeline, they will try to schedule as much construction work as possible at times other than rush hours, during nights and weekends.

“Let’s get this done, so current crowding can be addressed,” said Rick Cotton, executive director of Port Authority NY and NJ.

The sooner, the better, riders say.

“Just because a lot of people need to get to work,” said Deodath, who said having to wait eight minutes for the next train “really throws off your day.”

Major airport modernization

The vote to spend $29 million on planning for a new Terminal Two at Newark Airport comes even as construction proceeds on its companion, Terminal One. The new terminals will replace the current terminals B and A, respectively.

It’s all part of the Port Authority’s plan to upgrade and modernize all three of its major airports. A comprehensive redo of LaGuardia is also underway.

At Newark Airport, the existing monorail is 23 years old and too expensive to maintain, officials said.

“We are moving forward on the AirTrain, and in order to have a reliable, predictable ability to get to the airports,” Cotton said, “second to get cars off our congested roadways.”

The new AirTrain at Newark is scheduled for completion by 2024.