The Lackawanna Coalition has expressed its objections to a proposal by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to extend the Port Authority-Trans Hudson (PATH) line from Newark Penn Station to the monorail that serves Newark Airport.    In a statement submitted at an information session in downtown Newark, the Coalition objected to the project on several grounds.

The project will not improve the convenience of airport access for our primary constituents; those who use NJ Transit's Morris & Essex, Montclair-Boonton and Gladstone lines.  The journey to an airport terminal usually requires four segments: train to Broad Street Station, light rail or bus to Penn Station, NJ Transit train to the Airport station and the monorail to the airport terminal.  The proposed PATH extension would preserve the four-seat ride by substituting a PATH segment for an NJ Transit segment from Penn Station.  The Coalition disputed the cost-effectiveness of spending money for a plan that does not eliminate the inconvenience of having to make three transfers.

The Coalition also questioned the wisdom of spending the projected cost of $1.7 billion for a line that duplicates current NJ Transit service, when other projects that would improve mobility between New Jersey and New York City need to be built, and capital funding is needed to build them.  These projects include new tunnels into Penn Station, whether or not other components of the proposed Gateway Project are also built, and an upgraded and expanded Port Authority Bus Terminal.

We also disputed the Port Authority's claim that the project would benefit the surrounding neighborhood, citing its emphasis on a parking deck that was part of a local development plan.

The Coalition called for a study of airport access, which would consider alternatives to the proposed PATH extension.  These include shuttle trains between Newark Penn Station and the Airport station when there is room for them on the railroad, and shuttle buses between Penn Station and the airport terminals themselves.  A shuttle bus system, which would use buses specifically designed for airport customers, could also eliminate the need to spend capital dollars to replace the current airport monorail, which is nearing the end of its useful life.

Our statement concluded: We object to the current plan.  It is inconvenient for our constituents, it does not actually provide access to the airport terminals, and it wastes money that can be better spent for other projects, which are needed more urgently."

The scoping document for the project can be found on the Port Authority's web site, www.panynj.gov.  Anyone who wishes to comment on the proposed project can do so through the site at  www.panynj.gov/PATHextension or via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The comment period closes on Wednesday, December 20th.