The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today advanced plans to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to fast-track the restoration of six original ferry slips at historic Hoboken Terminal.
The Board also amended an existing contract -- for an additional $2.95 million funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- to allow STV Group of New York, NY to perform preliminary engineering services for restoration of the ferry slips, part of NJ TRANSIT's overall restoration of Hoboken Terminal and yard. The Port Authority expects to have ferry service operating from the restored ferry slips within the next four to five years.
"Since September 11th, the use of ferry service between New Jersey and New York has increased substantially," said New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey. "Restoration of the ferry slips at Hoboken Terminal is one of the long-range strategic plans to increase trans-Hudson capacity and enhance New Jersey's travel options while supporting the rebuilding of lower Manhattan."
"Historic Hoboken Terminal is gradually getting back to it's early 20th Century roots, providing a key transfer point for New Jersey residents traveling to the Big Apple," said Jamie Fox, NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and New Jersey Transportation Commissioner. "Thanks to the support of the Port Authority, thousands of NJ TRANSIT rail, light rail and bus customers will be able to take advantage of this expanded ferry operation."
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, "Since September 11, the Port Authority has used its transportation expertise and financial resources to develop new ways for people to get to and from work. The ferry has since become a lifeline for thousands of New Jersey residents who previously took PATH trains to the World Trade Center. By improving the historic Hoboken Terminal, we will provide the infrastructure necessary to increase service to and from Manhattan."
"The events of 9/11 have demonstrated the importance of intermodal transportation options for our customers," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "This project is a win-win situation for everyone -- reviving a major ferry operation and bringing long-term benefits to the regional commute."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymor said, "This project will continue the Port Authority's commitment to upgrade ferry infrastructure in New York and New Jersey. We have already invested $5 million to dredge and upgrade existing ferry slips in Hoboken to allow for increased ferry service to operate from the facility. And we spent an additional $4 million to build a new ferry terminal at Pier A in Lower Manhattan to give New Jersey residents easier access to jobs in that area."
Today's authorization is part of an initial $8 million commitment by the Port Authority to design the ferry slip restoration project. Construction of the permanent ferry terminal is estimated to cost up to $65 million, which is part of the overall restoration of the Hoboken Terminal.
The original ferry slips at Hoboken Terminal -- built in 1907 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad -- will undergo extensive repair and restoration, including:
Reconstructing a portion of the building's substructure and superstructure.
Construction of ferry service ticket offices.
Restoring the building roof and Tiffany skylights.
Restoring the copper fascia on the exterior of the building.
Waterproofing and insulating the exterior walls near the ferry slips.
Restoring the interior finishes of the ferry terminal area.
Performing utility and marine work to support the new ferry operation.
Since September 11, ferry service has become a critical part of regional mobility between New Jersey and New York. Due to the loss of PATH service to Lower Manhattan and vehicular restrictions in and out of New York, ferry operations have significantly increased from several locations in New Jersey and New York. The average number of daily morning rush-hour ferry trips on all routes between New Jersey and Manhattan has increased from 17,000 to 28,000.
On March 25, a new network of ferry services spearheaded by the Port Authority was launched, increasing capacity on key trans-Hudson ferry routes by more than 50 percent. They include more frequent service from Hoboken Terminal to the World Financial Center and a new route between Hoboken Terminal and Pier 11 on the East River at Wall Street.
This fall, NJ TRANSIT's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service will reach Hoboken Terminal, providing another key transportation link to the ferries. Additionally, Hoboken Terminal is served by more than 280 daily NJ TRANSIT trains, 546 daily PATH trains and more than 300 daily NJ TRANSIT buses -- in addition to other private bus carriers serving Hudson County.
Ferry service was the biggest supplier of trans-Hudson trips between New Jersey and New York when Hoboken Terminal opened in 1907. With the construction of bridges, tunnels and the PATH system, reduced demand for ferries eventually led to the closure of all ferry services from Hoboken Terminal in 1967. By 1989, NY Waterway ferry service resumed out of temporary ferry slips at the terminal.
Today's Board action will allow NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority to finalize a MOU that will include the responsibilities for the ferry slip project for each agency, funding mechanisms and will lead to a long-term lease for the Port Authority to operate the new ferry slips. Design and engineering work is scheduled to commence this summer.
NJ TRANSIT will be responsible for managing the design and reconstruction of the ferry slips project, consistent with its overall restoration of Hoboken Terminal. Reconstruction of the ferry slips could begin in late-2004, with potential completion by late-2006. All work is scheduled for completion in time for Hoboken Terminal's Centennial celebration in 2007.