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Public/Private Partnership Improves Trans-Hudson Transportation Options

NEWARK, NJ, March 10, 2004 – The Board of Directors today approved a $43.5 million contract to Conti Enterprise of South Plainfield to construct the Port Imperial Inter-Modal Ferry Terminal that will allow New York Waterway to continue operating ferry service in Weehawken. In addition, the Board also approved a $1 million contract to the ferry operator for construction assistance.

Construction will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in 2006. Authorization will advance a previous Board decision to enter into a partnership with New York Waterway for the terminal’s construction. In 1998, the ferry operator proposed the construction of a new terminal to replace the existing one, which allows the company to operate ferry service between Weehawken and midtown Manhattan at 38th Street. NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors approved the partnership in April 2001.

“This is a terrific example of a private and public sector partnership that benefits customers and the communities we serve,” said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. “The terminal will facilitate inter-modal transfers from the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, thereby reducing dependence on cars for commuting to ferries and lessen traffic congestion in Weehawken.”

In a post September 11th era, having a truly inter-modal system is critical to this region,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George Warrington. “With the introduction of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system nearly four years ago, we continue to see ridership increase as commuters look to public transportation as an alternative to the automobile.

Under the agreement, NJ TRANSIT acquired the property for the construction of the ferry terminal and will lease it to NY Waterway for a term of 32-years. The ferry operator designed the terminal facility, with NJ TRANSIT’s oversight, which is adjacent to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Port Imperial Station – expected to open next year.

The new terminal facility will house New York Waterway ferry service from Weehawken to several destinations in New York. It will include a waiting area, retail space and dockage capabilities for four boats. Construction of the new terminal would allow the ferry operator to increase the service it provides between Weehawken and New York, helping to relieve overcrowding on trans-Hudson transit services, bridges and tunnels.

In addition, the project also includes an 800-foot waterfront pedestrian esplanade, providing a scenic and convenient pedestrian access to the new terminal. A pedestrian bridge linking the light rail to the ferry terminal has been proposed and conceptual engineering is underway.

Construction of the ferry terminal has three principal benefits:

  • Replacement of an aging and undersized existing terminal: A new expanded ferry terminal will replace the one currently being used to operate ferry services between New Jersey and New York in Weehawken. The planned terminal will accommodate significant growth in trans-Hudson River ferry ridership.
  • Improve connectivity with Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System: The existing terminal is approximately 1,300 feet from the light rail system, while the planned terminal will be 835 feet, thereby reducing the distance between both services.
  • Joint benefits from an improved Trans-Hudson ferry service: The expansion would not only accommodate significant growth in trans-Hudson River ferry ridership – which has grown since September 11, 2001, but it will also improve connectivity with the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, which has seen ridership increase significantly since opening in 2000 with 15,500 average weekday trips.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 29 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.