Port Authority Board Oks $544 Million Program To Restore Path Service To Lower Manhattan, Begins Planning For Redevelopment Of Wtc Site
Date: December 13, 2001 Press Release Number: 164-01
Board Action Also Calls for Restoration of Service to Exchange Place Station, And Planning for Permanent World Trade Center PATH Station
New York Governor George E. Pataki and Acting New Jersey Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco announced today that the Port Authority Board of Commissioners has approved a $544 million program to re-establish PATH service to Lower Manhattan, easing commuting strains for tens of thousands of people affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Governor Pataki said that the key to the Port Authority's plans will be the construction of a temporary PATH Station at the World Trade Center site, to open within 24 months. The temporary station will be used until a permanent transportation plan for Lower Manhattan is developed. Before September 11, the World Trade Center Station, the busiest in the PATH system with 65,000 passengers a day, was one of the principal points of access to downtown Manhattan and the Wall Street area. "By moving forward with the rebuilding of the region's transportation network, we are taking a significant step in the revitalizing of Lower Manhattan and renewing the spirit of New York," Governor Pataki said. "This initiative is a major step forward in a long-term program that will result not only in new and improved public transportation to and from Lower Manhattan, but also a downtown area that is even stronger and more dynamic." Acting New Jersey Governor DiFrancesco said, "While the terrorists dealt us a terrible blow on September 11, they didn't knock us out. We are moving quickly to rebuild our region, making it as strong as ever.
Today's actions ensure that we have an integrated mass transit system in place for Lower Manhattan, one that will provide the basis for future development. It also will provide short-term benefits by offering commuters immediate relief from congestion caused by unprecedented ridership increases at some PATH stations and by restoring access to the important office development around the Exchange Place PATH station."
Acting Governor DiFrancesco said that the Port Authority will reopen PATH's Exchange Place Station – which serves Jersey City's "Gold Coast" of office buildings – within approximately 18 months. Necessary track work will be installed at Exchange Place to allow its operation as a terminal where PATH trains can turn around. Before September 11, trains reversed direction at the World Trade Center station. PATH tunnels that link Exchange Place and the World Trade Center area under the Hudson River also will be rehabilitated.
The Board also authorized a $10 million planning initiative for a permanent World Trade Center PATH Station, as well as a $10.5 million planning effort that will consider World Trade Center site redevelopment options. The planning effort, underlining the Board's commitment to be a key player in the restoration of Lower Manhattan, will explore ways to integrate a new PATH terminal with other mass transit, including New York City subways, buses and privately operated ferry services.
As part of the World Trade Center site redevelopment planning effort, the Port Authority also will provide assistance to the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation, which is exploring options for an interim memorial for the World Trade Center site. Port Authority Board Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, "The Port Authority's highest priority is playing a part in rebuilding Lower Manhattan and its transportation infrastructure. The package approved today by the Board shows the tremendous resources the Port Authority can bring to bear. We have the transportation resources, the capital funding and a regional mandate that allows us to invest in both New York and New Jersey to strengthen the bi-state transportation system."
Port Authority Board Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano, who serves as chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, said the restoration of PATH service is an essential catalyst for attracting business and commercial activity back to downtown. "While substitute buses and ferries have helped address the immediate needs of the downtown area, these services are inadequate to support the future transportation and economic requirements of downtown Manhattan. The Port Authority's commitment to re-establish PATH service to the World Trade Center area clearly signals our commitment to help rebuild the downtown area," Mr. Gargano said.
Acting Port Authority Executive Director Ronald Shiftan said, "PATH is doing a remarkable job of handling approximately 210,000 passengers a day despite the closing of two of the system's busiest stations. This program will reopen a temporary World Trade Center terminal, begin planning work for a permanent terminal and allow Exchange Place service to resume to one of the most rapidly growing employment centers in New Jersey. It also will provide improved access to our uptown stations, which have become key transfer points for travelers heading to and from lower Manhattan."