New Jersey Transit is spending $3.5 million to study the construction of a rail loop between the Secaucus Junction and the Meadowlands Sports and Entertainment Complex, according to an Aug. 25 announcement.
The complex hosts a number of tourist and travel destinations for North Jersey, including the American Dream mega-mall, MetLife Stadium, which hosts the New York Giants and Jets, and the Meadowlands Racetrack.
HNTB Corp., an architectural firm based in New York, will be tasked with conceptual design. The firm designed sports arenas, airports, bridges, tunnels, roadways, and rail and transit systems.
According to Gov. Phil Murphy, the goal of building such an extension is to shuttle patrons to and from the sporting and entertainment venues “in a safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly manner.”
MetLife Stadium is one of 16 across the United States being considered for the 2026 World Cup.
Jim Kirkos, president and chief executive officer of the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, said the event will be an incredible way to showcase what he says is a growing list of destinations in the region.
The statewide transit agency came under fire for the fiascos that stranded 12,000 Wrestlemania fans at MetLife Stadium in 2019 and tens of thousands at the stadium following Super Bowl XLVII in 2014.
“We need to think about how these past scenarios, both good and bad, of moving people from major events, how do we avoid any of the issues that we’ve run into in the past so that we can provide great experiences for the great events that we know how to run,” Kirkos said in a February interview. “Outside of that element, the Super Bowl was flawless.”
NJ Transit would need to be able to accommodate the 82,500 NFL game attendees, 52,000 concert attendees and 20,000 event attendees at the stadium, the up to 6,000 visitors to the American Dream, and keep the trip to 30 minutes at most.
During large events, that could mean the agency would need the capacity to move 20,000 people per hour, NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett said in February.
“When you consider… wetlands, water crossing, high-density traffic, critical utilities and service infrastructure that can’t be disrupted… that’s no small feat,” he added at a panel that month.
HNTB would have to submit this first phase of the conceptual design by December 2022, according to NJ Transit.
The line would be called Transitway, and stretch 7 miles between the stadium and Secaucus Junction. HNTB would have to look at where exactly the route would go, and whether it would use zero-emissions vehicles.