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NEW YORK CITY-Test runs are now going on for the temporary World Trade Center PATH station, which should be open for business next month–a full month ahead of schedule. An official announcement of the actual opening date is expected within a few weeks.

“It’s the first step back for Downtown,” said Louis J. Menno, program director of the PATH Downtown Restoration for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, during BOMA/NY’s Codes and Regulations/Government Affairs 2003 Conference and Trade Show held yesterday at the Marriott Marquis.

At an estimated cost of $544 million, the project involved removing and replacing all of the destroyed infrastructure including cables, tracks and duct banks. The Exchange Place station, which is the connection point for taking New Jersey commuters to the World Trade Center area, was reopened at the end of June. A permanent WTC PATH station is expected to open sometime in 2006.

Commenting that improved transportation will be a key toward rebuilding Lower Manhattan for both commercial and residential use, Menno is also working with the MTA to make direct lines east and west to connect subways, the PATH and ferry terminals.

“We’re trying to literally connect the dots,” he said, adding that “we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

William M. Wheeler, MTA’s director of special project development and planning, said the Fulton Street subway area will be completely redesigned to connect 12 subway lines and tie together six stations servicing Lower Manhattan.

“This will directly affect economic recovery,” he noted. Work on this endeavor is expected to be completed by 2007 and will feature easier access through additional entrances and an underground corridor. The transit station will have a surface presence that does not currently exist and will be a mix of the old and the new to fit in with the neighborhood, Wheeler noted. The $750 million projected cost will be paid with federal funds.

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