NEW YORK CITY-Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials joined Governor George Pataki and Acting New Jersey Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco today in laying out a plan to restore PATH service to Lower Manhattan.

At a press conference this afternoon, Pataki said the Port Authority’s $544-million proposal calls for a temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center site to open within two years. Before the Sept. 11 bombings, the World Trade Center PATH station–the system’s busiest–accommodated 65,000 passengers per day.

“This initiative is a major step forward in a long-term program that will result not only in new and improved public transportation to and from Lower Manhattan, but also a downtown area that is even stronger and more dynamic,” Pataki said.

DiFrancesco said the PA will reopen the Exchange Place Station, which serves Jersey City’s “Gold Coast” of office buildings, within roughly 18 months. New track at Exchange Place will allow trains to turn around there. Before Sept. 11, trains reversed directions at the World Trade Center station. Tunnels linking the two stations will also be rehabilitated.

Plans to integrate the PATH system with subway, bus and ferry services are also under exploration, as is a proposal for a permanent World Trade Center PATH station.

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