NEW YORK – Currently, the PATH rapid transit system is in the process of replacing and rehabilitating its entire rail car fleet – the biggest investment in PATH’s 40-plus year history.

The Port Authority Board on Sept. 10, 2003, approved an $809 million program to buy 246 new rail cars. An additional 94 cars will be either rehabilitated or replaced depending on the most cost-effective alternative. Renovations also will be made to PATH’s Harrison Car Maintenance Facility. The first new PATH cars will be in service by the end of 2006.

The program also includes preliminary engineering, design, testing and demonstration activities for a new signal system for PATH, which serves approximately 160,000 passenger trips each weekday. The signal system – which controls the movement of trains on the railroad – is approximately 34 years old, with some components up to 90 years old. The $809 million program cost represents the biggest single investment made in the rapid-transit system since the Port Authority acquired it from the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad in 1962.

“Providing new PATH cars will greatly improve the commute for tens of thousands of people who live and work in this region,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. “It is a critical component of our $8.7 billion Capital Plan that will allow the Port Authority to fulfill its regional mandate to strengthen the transportation system in New York and New Jersey.

In October 2003, the Port Authority began to receive proposals for the design of the new PATH cars. Proposals for the preliminary signal system work will be sought in the second quarter of 2004, with completion of the preliminary work scheduled for the second quarter of 2006.

The PATH cars and signal system work are the most recent Port Authority investments in the rapid transit system. A $566 million program to restore PATH service to the Exchange Place and World Trade Center stations is nearly complete. The Exchange Place Station reopened in June 2003 and the temporary World Trade Center Station is scheduled to reopen in November 2003. The Exchange Place Station currently handles approximately 5,600 passengers a day, while the World Trade Center Station is projected to handle approximately 50,000 passengers a day.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.