PANYNJ Board approves $160 million for EWR Station Access project

March 28, 2024
PANYNJ is looking to create a westward extension of the rail station’s existing above-grade pedestrian bridge to a new public access facility to improve accessibility at pick-up and drop-off points.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Board of Commissioners approved $160 million for the design and construction of the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Station Access project. This plan will add a new entry point to the Newark Liberty International Airport Rail Station. The project will help to improve transit accessibility for underserved Newark and Elizabeth neighborhoods, enabling far easier commutes and streamlined airport access. 

The project will include an extension of the existing pedestrian bridge over station platforms and tracks to a new public access area off Frelinghuysen Avenue. The public access area will include a pick-up/drop-off point for private vehicles, taxis, buses and for-hire vehicles, along with bicyclist and pedestrian access. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026. 

Transit trips to both EWR and Newark Penn Station will take under 10 minutes with the new facility. Currently, the same journey via existing transit options from these neighborhoods can take 40 minutes. The project will also improve connections to PATH train service from Newark Penn Station for access to job centers in Jersey City and Manhattan, while spurring transit-oriented development around the rail station serving the airport, consistent with local community-driven planning efforts. 

Currently, accessing the airport for travel or employment is unnecessarily difficult for these neighborhoods, typically requiring a private vehicle or lengthy public transit trip despite close proximity to the AirTrain. 

“My administration is proud to partner with the port authority on the latest component in the ambitious plan to transform Newark Airport into a modern, world-class gateway,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “This latest project will be a crucial bridge – literally and figuratively – for local residents, many of whom help power one of the world’s busiest airports. An extended pedestrian bridge will provide access to multiple modes of transportation, cutting down travel time significantly and providing greater and easier access not only to multiple modes of transportation, but to a world of opportunities.” 

“This is a true example of how transit access can transform a community,” said PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This project will fill in a critical link that had been missing for too long in the South Ward and North Elizabeth, giving residents in these previously underserved neighborhoods far easier access not just to Newark Airport, but to our regional transit system and all the opportunities that come with it.” 

The project scope includes a westward extension of the rail station’s existing above-grade pedestrian bridge to a new public access facility built off of Frelinghuysen Avenue. The new facility will provide elevators and escalators between the bridge and street level. It will be ADA-accessible and will display real-time bus and train arrival information alongside ticket vending machines. 

The new public access area will provide accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. Dedicated lanes will allow for streamlined pick-up/drop-off access for buses, private vehicles, taxis and for-hire vehicles. The 16,350-square-foot facility will also include a cellphone lot for private vehicles.

The PANYNJ previously authorized funding for project design work in March 2023.
EWR access has been a vocal request of community members for many years, most recently expressed during the agency’s EWR Vision Plan community outreach sessions. The plan will serve as a framework for future development through 2065 and makes recommendations for both short- and long-term projects while emphasizing Newark Airport as a world-class gateway for New Jersey. 

PANYNJ’s planning efforts have included significant community engagement, which will continue through future phases of the project. A town hall-style event was held in Newark’s South Ward in October 2023. Extensive governmental outreach has also been conducted with the state of New Jersey, the cities of Newark and Elizabeth and local elected officials. The agency has also coordinated with regional transportation and technical partners, including New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and PSE&G.