A $57 million planning fund has been approved for the first phase of the PATH system extension to Newark Liberty International Airport, a projected $1.7-billion project that is a key component of the board’s 2017-2026 capital plan and essential to improved regional rail service .

Subject to completion of the environmental review process and project authorisation by the Port Authority board, the project would include a new station in Newark’s South Ward Dayton Street neighbourhood, a new rail yard facility and modification of existing platforms at Newark Penn Station to accommodate increased passenger flow.

The authorisation provides funding critical to move the project through preliminary design and the required environmental review process. It includes funds for environmental and transportation services, including preliminary engineering work as well as programme and project management services.

Once approved, construction of the extension is expected to begin in 2020 with full revenue service to start in 2026.