The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey advanced a $1.7 billion rail project Thursday to extend its PATH transit system to Newark Liberty International Airport.

The bi-state agency’s board of commissioners authorized $57 million in planning funds for the first phase of the expansion during its monthly meeting Thursday. The project is slated to include new station in Newark’s South Ward Dayton Street neighborhood and a new rail yard facility along with modifying existing platforms at Newark Penn Station to accommodate increased passenger flow.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey budgeted $1.7 billion in its $32 billion 10-year capital plan from 2017 to 2016 for a rail extension to Newark's airport.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey budgeted $1.7 billion in its $32 billion 10-year capital plan from 2017 to 2016 for a rail extension to Newark's airport. Bloomberg News

“The Port Authority is committed to making critical investments in a transportation network that supports regional growth and meets the demands of the millions of people who live, work and visit the region,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan in a statement after Thursday’s meeting. “This planning effort will provide analysis of key components – ridership data, cost updates, environmental and economic impacts – to help the agency continue to evaluate the project before moving forward with construction.”

Port Authority officials said construction of the extension is expected to begin in 2020 after the project receives environmental review approvals. Full revenue service on the extended line is projected to start in 2026.

The Port Authority reported during Thursday meeting first quarter capital investment spending of around $560 million with about $53 million allocated to PATH. Port Authority general obligation bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service and AA-minus by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings. The agency’s consolidated bonds outstanding were projected late last year at roughly $20.4 billion.

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