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Disadvantaged Business Enterprises encouraged to attend

October 12, 2007
Contact: Joe Dee (973) 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ - NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey First Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin will welcome contractors from throughout the region to a conference to explore opportunities associated with Access to the Region's Core (ARC), the $7.5 billion project to double commuter rail capacity between New Jersey and New York.

The free Contractor Outreach and Networking Conference, on Tuesday, October 16, is being co-sponsored by NJ TRANSIT and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which are partnering on the ARC project. Featured speaker is author and historian Jill Jonnes, whose new book, "Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and its Tunnels," details the complexity of that undertaking a century ago.

"ARC will provide lasting benefits to the region's residents once it's complete, and it will provide immediate economic benefits to our economy and to members of the building trades during the construction phase," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "This conference is intended to help reach a diverse cross-section of the contracting community and help firms of all sizes learn about potential opportunities to participate."

"In the long term, the ARC tunnel will be a tremendous economic engine for the region, connecting employers in Manhattan with fast-growing labor pools in Northern Jersey and Upstate, said PANYNJ Executive Director Anthony Shorris. "And even in the short term, it will provide thousands of construction workers with years of dependable work. We encourage any firm with an interest in the project, especially small, women and minority-owned businesses to come learn more at this conference."

Interested firms are encouraged to pre-register by contacting Keisha Thomas at THE CM Consortium at or at (973) 643-4007. The conference will be held 8:00 a.m.-3 p.m. October 16, 2007 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Downtown Newark, accessible via Newark Light Rail from Newark Broad Street Station and Newark Penn Station.

Contractors will learn about contracting opportunities related to tunneling and heavy civil construction. Other topics will include geotechnical studies, contract phasing and packaging, insurance, bonding and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) efforts. The conference will also feature a question-and-answer session and will encourage contractors to offer comments and suggestions.

"This conference represents a pro-active effort on the part of NJ TRANSIT to foster an open and inclusive process as we gear up toward the construction phase of ARC," said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora Castillo. "We hope it encourages small and minority-owned and women-owned businesses to learn about the steps they can take toward participating in this important project."

Ms. Jonnes' insights into the contributions of architects, engineers and contractors whose stunning achievement resulted in the two single-track trans-Hudson tunnels and New York Penn Station that remain in use today and upon which the ARC project builds additional capacity, is expected to be a highlight of the conference.

Access to the Region's Core, a $7.5 billion project that will play a crucial role in providing mobility for a growing economy, includes building nine miles of tunnels under the New Jersey Palisades, the Hudson River and Manhattan; expanding New York Penn Station; and construction of such elements as a rail yard, rail bridge structures, a new station entrance and fan plants.

The project's preliminary engineering phase is nearing 90 percent completion and construction is expected to begin in 2009.

About The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.