Friday, December 08, 2017

PANYNJ approves 2018 budgets; approves Superstorm Sandy repairs

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PANYNJ approves 2018 budgets; approves Superstorm Sandy repairs PANYNJ

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Board of Commissioners approved the agency's 2018 Budget consisting of $3.2 billion for operating expenses and $3.4 billion for capital expenses on Dec. 7. Additionally, the board approved Superstorm Sandy-related enhancement projects.

PANYNJ says the budget allows the agency to enhance security at its facilities, improve customer service, invest in sustainability and environmental protection initiatives, undertake significant state-of-good-repair work and build new, best-in-class transportation facilities.

The Operating Budget adopted by the board represents an increase of $61 million, or 1.9 percent versus the 2017 budget, in line with the rate of inflation. The Capital Budget funds major state-of-good-repair work and major projects to replace aging infrastructure with modern, state-of-the-art facilities to provide for future growth. The 2018 Capital Budget aligns with the 10-year, 2017-2026 Capital Plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners in February and invests in critical regional transportation projects. Key rail projects included in the Capital Budget include an extension of the PATH system to Newark Liberty rail link station for travel to Newark Liberty; implementation of a Positive Train Control (PTC) system across PATH by the end of 2018; the construction of the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at Greenville Yards at the Port Jersey Marine Terminal and support of the planning phase of the Gateway Passenger Rail Tunnel projects.

"This budget is a win for our customers and a win for this region and its economy," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole. "It invests in better security at airports, bridges, tunnels and PATH, provides enhanced, state-of-the-art customer service amenities and allows for the construction of best-in-class facilities that will sustain regional growth for many decades."

In other action, the board authorized a series of expenditures its says will enhance PATH service, equipment and facilities throughout the system, including the purchase of 50 new rail cars, overhauling the current fleet to maintain state of good repair, as well as several Superstorm Sandy-related repair and replacement projects.

The board authorized the purchase of 50 rail cars from Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., with an option to eventually acquire another 22 cars subject to further board action. The rail car acquisition is funded under a $150 million allocation in the Port Authority's 10-year capital plan adopted earlier this year.

The commissioners also approved $79.5 million to replace and rehabilitate key components of the railroad's current fleet of 350 PA-5 rail cars, as part of PATH's maintenance cycle to ensure a continuing state of good repair. An additional $60 million was authorized for an overhaul of essential rail car components.

In addition to the rail car purchase and maintenance allocations, the board approved the following PATH spending items:

  • $70.6 million for replacement and upgrade of PATH power substation No. 14, located at the railroad's maintenance yard in Harrison. The authorization includes engineering and architectural costs for design and implementation. The existing substation was badly damaged in Superstorm Sandy.
  • $29.9 million for interlocking and track work at the Hoboken PATH station to repair extensive damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Interlocking is a critical component for the operational flexibility and maneuvering of trains from two tunnel tracks to three stations tracks in Hoboken.

"Demand on the PATH system is growing significantly with each passing year. Today's board votes to purchase new rail cars and provide critical repair and maintenance work will go a long way to ensuring that our PATH customers continue to receive the highest and most efficient level of service," said O'Toole.