The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey established new records at the airports, seaport, PATH system, Goethals Bridge and Staten Island bridges in 2019.
According to the agency, the record volumes validate its historic $37 billion 10-year capital plan to rebuild and significantly upgrade legacy facilities that were built decades ago to handle fewer people and cargo.
“We have taken aggressive steps in the past year to invest in building new, modern facilities and to upgrade existing legacy infrastructure to handle the record passenger and cargo volumes we continue to experience every year,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “From the new LaGuardia Airport, to the new Terminal One at Newark Liberty, to the redeveloped JFK Airport, we intend to make an unprecedented level of investment in our infrastructure to create a network of state-of-the-art facilities that provide an unparalleled level of customer experience.”
During 2019, the Port Authority handled a record 140.5 million passengers at its four commercial airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and New York Stewart International airports. This is an increase of 1.6 percent over the previous record of 138.2 million passengers handled in 2018.
Newark airport saw more than 46 million passengers in 2019, a 1 percent increase from 2018.
AirTrain Newark handled more than 11 million passengers in 2019, surpassing the previous annual record handled in 2018.
To accommodate the ongoing record demand, the Port Authority and its private airport partners have committed $30 billion to maintain and build new airport facilities across New York and New Jersey.
Breaking new PATHs
During 2019, PATH handled 82.22 million passengers, the second-highest annual ridership on record, while average PATH weekday ridership hit 284,380—the highest level on record.
The highest one-day ridership recorded in 2019 was 311,317, which occurred on July 24.
According to PANYNJ, 2019 passenger levels would have set a new record, had it not been for the anomaly of 1.2 million New Jersey Transit ticket holders who were cross honored in 2017, including 933,000 who were cross honored during the summertime track shutdowns to accommodate emergency repairs at New York’s Penn Station.
Last June, the Port Authority announced a plan to increase capacity, reduce delays and enhance customer experience, including an ongoing $750 million project to install a new signal system that enables PATH to run more trains per hour.
In 2019, PATH added two trains per weekday during the morning and evening rush hours, which has increased capacity by 10 percent during peak weekday travel times.
PATH’s $1 billion investment also includes prior commitments of $215.7 million for 72 new rail cars, which will be delivered beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022, and a new capital commitment of $80 million for station modifications to enable nine-car trains on the Newark to World Trade Center line.
PATH also will commit an additional $50 million to delay reduction and customer service initiatives.
The goal of the PATH Improvement Plan is to increase capacity by 40 percent by 2022 on the Newark to WTC line, and by 20 percent on its other three lines. It also outlines a six-point delay reduction initiative to be implemented over the next two years, a new fare payment system to be introduced by 2022, and a set of customer service initiatives.
Bridge and tunnel 10-year high
At the Port Authority’s crossings, the Goethals Bridge established a new annual record for traffic in 2019, reporting 17.7 million eastbound trips, a 6.6 percent increase over the previous record set in 2018.
The record traffic volumes follow the May 2018 opening of the new Goethals Bridge, which provides travelers with three, 12-foot lanes in each direction and shoulders to improve incident response and ensure reliable travel times.
The three Staten Island Bridges – the Goethals and Bayonne bridges and the Outerbridge Crossing – collectively set a new traffic record in 2019, handling 36.1 million eastbound vehicles, a 4 percent increase over the previous annual record set in 2018.
During 2019, all six of the Port Authority’s crossings – the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and the George Washington Bridge and Staten Island Bridges – accommodated 122.2 million eastbound vehicles, the highest annual volume reported in 10 years.