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Transit study requested on JFK-Manhattan link

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the...

By Philip Newman

Two agencies have taken the first steps toward construction of a transportation center at the former World Trade Center site as well as a mass transit link to John F. Kennedy International airport.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation have issued requests for consulting firms to produce studies into the feasibilities of both projects.

The Port Authority’s plan involves a $600 million commuter complex for Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) trains from Lower Manhattan to New Jersey and connections to 14 subway lines. A bus terminal is also proposed.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s project envisions mass transit rail lines from points on Long Island to JFK, perhaps Jamaica and into the Wall Street area, which supporters have hailed as a boon to the economy.

“The infrastructural investments that provide JFK Airport access can at the same time service the fast-growing counties of Long Island and enhance the quality of travel experience for commuters,” the LMDC said of its plan.

What the agency termed a Super Shuttle would involve a direct ride to Jamaica station with a transfer to the AirTrain, which will link Kennedy Airport with downtown Jamaica and Howard Beach.

Another version of the Queens route, which the LMDC calls the “JFK Direct,” would create a one-seat ride to Jamaica and JFK utilizing a new tunnel beneath the East River. The cost has been estimated at $525 million and would require up to eight years to build.

The proposed mass transit concepts of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and of the Port Authority’s $1.9 billion AirTrain cover some of the same ground.

The AirTrain is now expected to run completely within Kennedy Airport and reach stops at Jamaica Station and Howard Beach by the end of the year.

The air rail link’s schedule was set back by an accident during testing Sept. 27, 2002 when a train operator, Kelvin DeBourgh, 23, was killed. Testing on the AirTrain resumed this spring.

The Port Authority said in its official Request for Proposals for the massive transportation hub that prior to Sept. 11, 2001 “more than 150,000 pedestrians traveled through the World Trade Center complex each day, including more than 100,000 daily PATH and subway riders.

“The future World Trade Center PATH Terminal will serve as a gateway to Lower Manhattan potentially for as many as 250,000 pedestrians daily,” the Port Authority said. A temporary PATH terminal is already under construction.

The Port Authority said the proposed new terminal would connect through tunnels to the World Trade Center site into the World Financial Center, the Winter Garden on the west, the planned Fulton Street Transit Center to No. 7 World Trade Center and Tribeca to the North and Wall Street and the Financial District on the south.

“The permanent PATH Terminal is proposed to be a fully developed, regional transportation hub,” the Port Authority said.

The master plan for the restoration of the entire World Trade Center complex is under the firm of Studio Daniel Libeskind.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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