PATCO getting closer to naming new G.M.

Six contenders remain in the running for the job as general manager of PATCO, the commuter rail line between Philadelphia and South Jersey.

The job has been vacant since April 1, when long-time PATCO head Robert Box retired.

The candidates will be interviewed early next week, and a successor to Box will be named in about a month, said John Matheussen, chief executive of the Delaware River Port Authority, which operates PATCO. Matheussen outlined the hiring plans at today’s meeting of the DRPA board.

The PATCO candidates, winnowed from a field of about 30, were not identified. Box’s deputy, Cheryl Spicer, is currently acting general manager.

The board also advanced plans to spend $3.1 million to refurbish PATCO’s rail yards in Lindenwold and $1.1 million to replace electrical power stations for two DRPA toll bridges.

A board committee approved the spending plans, which will be voted on by the full board next month.

Chammings Electric Inc., of Vineland, is to replace the power substations on the Walt Whitman and Betsy Ross bridges. The substations distribute electricity to operate the administration building, toll plazas and traffic systems.

The contract for rehabilitation of the Lindenwold rail yards will go to HNTB Corp., of Philadelphia. Eighty percent of that funding, $2.5 million, is to come from the Federal Transit Administration, while the DRPA will pay the remainder.