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Management Company Hired to Operate and Maintain Facility

NEWARK, NJ, July 10, 2002 -- NJ TRANSIT announced today that it will open its new East End Concourse at Penn Station New York on Monday, September 23, one week prior to the opening of its new Montclair-Boonton MidTOWN DIRECT service.

The announcement coincided with action taken today by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors, awarding a three-year, $5.45 million contract to Meridian Management Corporation of Ponte Verde Beach, FL, for building maintenance, operations and management functions of the 50,000-square-foot East End Concourse. The concourse, a station-within-a-station, will provide NJ TRANSIT customers with their own waiting area, ticketing facilities and customer service functions currently shared in an area operated by Amtrak.

"Penn Station New York is NJ TRANSIT's busiest rail station and one of the busiest stations in the world, yet the commute for our customers has been trying at best," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox. "During rush hours customers have been forced to wait in the main concourse for platform announcements and then run, en masse, to catch their trains. The East End Concourse will make it easier and more convenient to reach the platforms."

"The decision to open the East End Concourse September 23 is part of our commitment to increase capacity on the system," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "In this case, the new stairs, escalators and elevators that will serve the facility will increase passenger flow to and from the platforms, to other transit services and to the streets of Manhattan. Hiring Meridian to maintain the concourse will help us reduce operating costs and provide round-the-clock services at our busiest passenger facility."

Penn Station New York is the travel destination for more than 45 percent of NJ TRANSIT's rail passengers -- nearly 116,000 average weekday trips -- and is a major transportation hub for the northeast. Governor James E. McGreevey announced earlier this year that even more riders will begin using the facility when NJ TRANSIT opens the new MidTOWN DIRECT - Montclair service September 30, saving Montclair Branch and Boonton Line riders an estimated 15-20 minutes each way on their trips to and from midtown-Manhattan.

The new East End Concourse will include a passenger waiting area, customer service offices, accessible ticket windows, additional elevators, escalators and staircases to and from the platforms and artwork that includes scenes from the State of New Jersey. The opening will help to ease overcrowding, improve passenger circulation and allow NJ TRANSIT passengers to exit more quickly from train platforms to street level locations.

Due to the substantial increase in commuters traveling to Penn Station New York since September 11, NJ TRANSIT accelerated the opening of escalators and stairs in the New East End Concourse last year during the morning peak commuting hours. Passengers have been walking through designated areas of the concourse as work continues on the remaining portions off the facility.

The Board today awarded a three-year, $5.45 million contract -- with a two-year option -- to hire Meridian Management Corporation to fully serve the 50,000 square-foot East End Concourse. Meridian will provide all of the supervision, maintenance, repairs, inspection and materials required to support the maintenance and operations of building systems including the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, elevators, escalators, communications, architectural and mechanical services. Custodial services will include cleaning of all public and service areas, pest control duties and cleaning of windows and artwork.

Meridian currently operates and manages several major facilities around the country including buildings for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system, the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

Penn Station New York is served by 220 daily NJ TRANSIT trains, as well as Amtrak, Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway system.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 761,000 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 27 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.