The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is studying plans to replace Newark Liberty International Airport's aging monorail.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $40 million planning commitment to study construction of a new AirTrain Newark at its April 30 meeting. The board's action authorizes preparation of a federal application to seek recovery of the $40 million planning cost through airport Passenger Facility Charges.

The planning studies will include a review of funding, financing and project delivery alternatives with full replacement project costs to be taken into account in upcoming review of the Port Authority's 10-year capital plan.

"Our AirTrain systems are vital to the efficient movement of passengers and employees to and from our airports," said Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler.  "We will continue to make the necessary investments to modernize our existing infrastructure and to increase access to the region's airports."

The Port Authority estimates that $60.6 million in economic activity will be created over the life of the planning process for the new AirTrain service including 90 direct jobs totaling $8.3 million in wages. The service opened in 1996 serving airport terminals, parking garages and rental facilities before expanding five years later to a station connecting with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains. Ridership totaled nearly 2.2 million passengers in 2014 with roughly 25,000 riders using the system daily, according to Port Authority officials.

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