Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Kevin M. Rampe, NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff, Empire State Development Corporation Chairman and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Vice-Chairman Charles A. Gargano, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Peter S. Kalikow, today announced four alternatives for improved rail access from Lower Manhattan to Long Island and JFK International Airport. The "short-list" is the mid-point result of a feasibility study being conducted by the LMDC, MTA, Port Authority and New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
Governor George E. Pataki said, "Direct connections between Long Island and JFK Airport into Lower Manhattan are critical to the future of a rebuilt Lower Manhattan. Major cities such as Chicago, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong possess regional commuter and international airport service from their central business districts. Today we are taking an important step towards providing airport access to Lower Manhattan. Transportation improvements including a direct rail link to JFK Airport are vital investments in the future of Lower Manhattan."
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "Today's announcement represents an early but important step in a long process that will result in high-speed access from JFK Airport and Long Island into Lower Manhattan. This train will become as much a part of the fabric of New York City's transportation network as the subway, the Staten Island Ferry, and the Brooklyn Bridge and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the LMDC, the MTA, and the Port Authority to make this important transportation initiative a reality."
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "Building a direct connection between Lower Manhattan and the Long Island commuter hub in Jamaica will ensure that the region's critical labor pools can better access the job opportunities that downtown New York will provide and serve as a catalyst for the economic rebirth and rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. Access to JFK, the metropolitan region's premier international airport, will give Lower Manhattan's firms the global edge required to succeed in today's marketplace."
LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe said, "Direct access to Long Island and JFK is an integral element of the 21st century transportation network planned for Lower Manhattan. Improved regional access and a direct connection to JFK International Airport are crucial to maintaining Lower Manhattan's status as the financial capital of the world and as the country's third largest central business district. The infrastructure investments that will simultaneously provide access to the fast-growing counties of Long Island and JFK Airport will enhance the quality of travel experience for commuters and airport travelers."
Four options have been identified to provide direct access to Long Island and JFK Airport. The options also provide improved service between Downtown Brooklyn and the LIRR hub at Jamaica, Queens. The options are as follows:
- New Tunnel - Service between Lower Manhattan and JFK & Jamaica using: the AirTrain /JFK route, the converted Atlantic Branch, new tunneling in Brooklyn, a new East River tunnel, and new tunneling in Manhattan.
- Montague Tunnel (Currently serves the M, N, R subway lines) - Service between Lower Manhattan and JFK & Jamaica using: the AirTrain /JFK route, the converted Atlantic Branch, new tunneling in Brooklyn, the Montague Street Tunnel, and MTA-NYCT Broadway and/or Nassau Line.
- Cranberry Tunnel (Currently serves the A, C subway lines) - Service between Lower Manhattan and JFK & Jamaica using: the AirTrain /JFK route, the converted Atlantic Branch, new tunneling in Brooklyn, the Cranberry Street Tunnel, and MTA-NYCT Fulton Line (A/C).
- Montague and Cranberry Tunnel Combination - Service between Lower Manhattan and JFK & Jamaica using: the AirTrain /JFK route, the converted Atlantic Branch, and both the Cranberry and Montague Street Tunnels.
All options, both those using existing MTA-NYCT tunnels and those that build a new tunnel, make extensive use of existing infrastructure. Under all alternatives, the Atlantic Avenue Branch, currently operated by the MTA-LIRR, would be used between Jamaica Station and Downtown Brooklyn.
The alternatives make use of four different tunnel options for crossing the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. All options will provide either station or pedestrian connections to the Port Authority's World Trade Center Transportation Hub or the MTA's Fulton Street Transit Center.
Charles A. Gargano, Empire State Development Chairman and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Vice Chairman said, "New York City is the world's capital of finance, commerce and tourism and to maintain this status - and meet the growing number of new businesses and visitors who are traveling to Lower Manhattan each year - mass-transit options must be enhanced. These four options for direct rail connections between lower Manhattan, Long Island and JFK will do just that while emphasizing Governor Pataki's priorities in revitalizing downtown Manhattan and ensuring that New York City remains the world's preeminent city."
MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow said, "We are pleased to be a partner in the study to bring direct JFK access to Lower Manhattan. This is a critical step forward in linking mass transit and commuter rails to the international airport and Long Island."
A critical next step of the study is an in-depth analysis of any effects that these proposed alternatives may have on existing New York City Transit operations. The selected alternative will complement existing and planned transit services.
Construction and project cost estimates for each alternative have not yet been developed. The next phase of the analysis will focus on alignment, construction, and other environmental issues, return on investment/cost, ridership, and relationship to other regional transit network planning issues. A full assessment of all the issues that need to be addressed prior to the implementation of a new service will be evaluated in the formal environmental review process that will commence in the spring following this study.
The selected alternative, along with a financing framework, will be announced by the end of April 2004. In addition, a timeline for implementation including construction start date and the beginning dates of potential interim/early phases of the new service will be released in the spring.