By Ang Santos
The Regional Plan Association (RPA) proposes a thirty to forty year long, $50 billion overhaul of Newark Airport. The plan includes a third runway and a transportation hub connecting PATH train service.
“It’s critical that we look at a third runway,” said Rich Barone, Vice President for Transportation, Regional Plan Association. “But to get to a third runway we would have to actually move a lot of things around at the airport in order to make it fit and to make it work. To get the greatest amount of capacity. We anticipate with a third runway we could increase capacity by up to forty-four percent which is substantial.”
City Councilman John Sharpe James says the plan would create walking access to Newark Airport.
“Currently we have a planned PATH train extension, a new station at the airport. This project before you would bring the airport closer to that station to allow more community access. Right now, from the street you cannot walk to Newark Airport.”
RPA President Tom Wright believes the Port Authority can find the resources to self-sufficiently pay for the project.
“It’s about the Port Authority making its seaports profitable the way they are in other parts of the world. How potentially to capture some of the value of the PATH system itself and use that to pay for operations in the PATH system. All of which would free up funding in capacity at the Port Authority to make these kinds of investments,” said Wright.
Mayor Ras Baraka backs the report and plan. He says state and federal government have underfunded transportation infrastructure.
“It’s a mistake because it underutilizes the capacity of the transportations infrastructure that we have in this community. If they invested more into the airport we would be able to see what is being presented to us today and would have an awesome impact not only on the regional economy but in Newark specifically.”
The plan would need support from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.