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    GROWING TRAINS Proposal would add more rush hour PATH cars, lengthen stations

Monday, December 17, 2007 By KEN THORBOURNE JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
 
P{ATH Trains Hudson Tubes Hudson & Manhattan RR To alleviate the rush-hour crunch at the PATH World Trade Center station, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey intends to increase the amount of cars per train on the Newark/WTC line - that is, provided a proposed increase in fares on Port Authority tunnels and bridges and the PATH goes through. The promised improvements, which would include upgrades to two Jersey City PATH stations and a new station in Harrison, represents a $360 million budget item in the agency's proposed $29.5 billion 10-year capital improvement plan and would expand the number of cars on the rush-hour trains from seven to 10, Port Authority spokesman Mark Lavorgna said.

"We are always promoting the use of mass transit," Lavorgna said. "On that particular line we have overcrowding issues during the rush hours. This will provide a more comfortable commute and the ability to carry more people." The additional cars would give the P.A. the capacity to transport roughly 5,400 more passengers per day, Lavorgna said.

To accommodate the longer trains, the platforms at Exchange Place and Grove Street PATH train stops in Jersey City would have to be extended and a new station would have to be built in Harrison, he said. The $360 million price-tag is apart from the $500 million the P.A. is spending on a new fleet of cars, scheduled to start coming on-line next year. One commuter, Mary Louise Mazak, of Bayonne, who uses the PATH to get to her job in Manhattan's financial district, called the plan "excellent." "It will help me get back and forth more quickly," said Mazak, who was getting off the PATH at Grove Street Friday evening.

The timetable for increasing the number of cars along the Newark/WTC route is "years, not months," Lavorgna said. The $29.5 billion capital spending plan includes $3 billion for the Hudson River Passenger Rail Tunnel, $3.3 billion to overhaul the PATH system, and $500 million for the expansion of Stewart Airport. To pay for this plan, the P.A. has proposed increasing tunnel tolls from $6 to $8 and raising the PATH train fare from $1.50 to $2, although multiple ticket-buyers would still be able to get the $1.50 fare.

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