The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today approved the selection of a major rail car firm to design and build a new fleet of PATH cars as part of an $809 million program that is one of the largest single investments ever made by the bistate agency.
The Board, acting as the PATH Board of Directors, authorized the award of a $499 million contract to Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. to design and build 340 new PATH rail cars. The new cars will replace the system’s fleet, which averages 33 years of age and is the oldest in the nation. The cars will be assembled at the company’s Yonkers, N.Y., plant.
The award is part of an $809 million PATH modernization program that also includes car maintenance equipment, renovations to PATH’s Harrison Consolidated Maintenance Facility, and preliminary work on a new signal system. It is the largest single investment in the rapid transit system since the Port Authority acquired the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad in 1962.
New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said, “New Jersey commuters have relied on PATH for more than 40 years to provide them with safe and efficient public transportation to work, school or recreation destinations in New Jersey and New York City. These new cars will feature new passenger amenities and will improve the reliability of the system.”
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Following the 9/11 attacks, all of us saw clearly the important role that PATH plays in the region’s transportation network. These new cars are part of our overall plan to provide commuters with a better PATH system, including the construction of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava that will provide seamless connections between PATH, subways and ferry services.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “This is truly a historic day for the Port Authority and for the thousands of people in New York and New Jersey who rely on the region’s mass transit system each day to get to their destinations. These new cars are part of our multibillion-dollar program to upgrade PATH. During the past three years, we invested $566 million to rebuild the Exchange Place Station, the rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey, and the temporary World Trade Center PATH station. Beginning this summer, we will break ground for a $2 billion transportation hub at the World Trade Center site. These initiatives continue to advance the goals of the 10-year strategic plan that the Board approved last December by enhancing the mobility of people throughout the region.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “These upgrades are part of a much broader vision we have to integrate and enhance Lower Manhattan’s transportation network. In addition to the new rail cars, we will build a new PATH terminal on the World Trade Center site, upgrade the Fulton Street subway station and continue to develop plans for a one-seat ride that will link downtown Manhattan with John F. Kennedy International Airport.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “The purchase of new cars is an important component of our multibillion-dollar capital plan, which includes several other major projects that will maintain the region’s vitality. In addition to plans for the PATH system, we plan to invest millions to upgrade our region’s airports, to deepen the channels leading to our port facilities and to explore the possibility of replacing the Goethals Bridge to improve this critical link between New York and New Jersey.”
The new PATH cars will have improved lighting, air conditioning and heating; cantilevered seats with room underneath for passengers to store items; prerecorded station announcements; better signs; and three door sets on each side to allow for faster loading and unloading.
The Port Authority expects to have the first of the new PATH cars in service in late 2008. The entire fleet will be replaced by 2011.
The Port Authority will break ground this summer for a new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which will include a permanent PATH terminal. The $2 billion project will for the first time connect PATH with ferry services and with New York City Transit subway lines to better interconnect the region’s mass transit system.