PATH to EWR? Maybe.

NJ’s Gov. Christie might require PATH service to Newark Liberty Airport—but only if United Airlines agrees to beef up service at Atlantic City.  The airline has balked, according to reporting by Ted Mann in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 30).  If the long-contemplated PATH extension were to be built, it would likely go only to the Newark Liberty Airport rail station, not to the airline terminals, which would require riders to use the AirTrain monorail service.

When the modern terminals at Newark were built, long-time observers recall, they were originally designed for rapid-transit service (PATH) at the terminals themselves, but extending PATH to the terminals would cost a lot more, perhaps $3 billion compared to $1 billion for the simpler plan.  The state favors better airline service at Atlantic City, which is currently served only by Spirit Airlines, with 14 scheduled weekday flights; United seems disinclined to enter the market, especially since improved access to EWR might benefit its competitors more: United’s flights are already mostly full.  One advocate of the PATH extension is Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who figures that with the PATH extension, local residents would be allowed to use it—though there is currently good rail service at the EWR rail station, local and auto access to the facility is not available, with the only ongoing transportation available being the AirTrain, which has a hefty fee built into rail tickets to the station.