NOTICE TO PROCEED with design, and construction of a fully automated light metro serving New York’s John F Kennedy International was issued by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on May 5. The Board of Commissioners had selected the AirRail Transit Consortium of Skanska USA, Bombardier Transit Corp, and Perini on April 16.

ARTC has been awarded a $930m design-build contract and a separate $105m five-year contract to operate and maintain the line, with two five-year renewal options. Bombardier will supply 32 linear motored cars. Civil works will be handled by the US arm of Swedish engineering group Skanska, and local metro contractor Perini. Seltrac inductive loop train control will be supplied by Alcatel Canada.

The long-planned network will consist of a 3·2 km loop linking the airport’s nine passenger terminals, a 5·5 km line serving the car rental zone, long-term and staff car parks and Howard Beach subway station, and a 4·8 km line running non-stop to the Long Island Rail Road interchange at Jamaica. The quickest route from the airport to Manhattan will be 45 min via the LIRR.

Construction will be financed by a $3 surcharge on every airline passenger leaving JFK and capital funds from PA. Operating costs will be met from fare revenue and savings from eliminating the current shuttle bus service. The line to Howard Beach is due to open in 2002, followed a year later by that to Jamaica. Ridership in the first full year of operation is estimated at more than 12 million passengers.

  • PA has also approved plans to modernise its Port Authority Trans Hudson metro, including installation of ATC to replace lineside signalling and allow driver-only or driverless operation. The plan calls for acquisition of 257 AC-motored PA-5 cars, similar to the 95 stainless steel PA-4s now about 10 years old. These will have camshaft controls and DC motors replaced by AC drives, while the older aluminium-bodied PA-1, PA-2 and PA-3 cars will be withdrawn. o