NEWARK, NJ-This city’s tiny, aging, mile-long subway system, while largely overlooked, has been a quietly effective tool for moving people around town. Now, thanks to an ambitious expansion project just under way, the Newark City Subway is expected to become a whole lot more prominent a factor in the comeback of New Jersey’s largest city.

New Jersey Transit is spending $208 million to extend the existing system by approximately one mile, both above and below ground, and to overhaul portions of the existing system. While NJT is spending the money, it’s actually coming from the Federal Transit Administration (approximately $170 million) and the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund.

The key element is an eight-block link between the city’s two major Downtown business hubs. It will connect Newark’s Penn Station, a major Northeast transit hub and a focal point for the Gateway district, which includes several of the cities key office towers, with the existing Broad Street Station and its adjacent office submarket. Officials say they expect it to spark further growth in both submarkets.

“The project supports Gov. [James] McGreevey’s mandate to increase capacity and invest in urban communities,” says NJ Transit executive director George Warrington. “It will benefit residents, employees and visitors to downtown Newark.”

Besides serving the two business districts, the new link will provide service to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Newark Bears minor league stadium and several other Downtown attractions. Completion is slated for mid-2005.

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