Port Authority approves billions to fund these NY and NJ projects
The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted Thursday to authorize initial planning for a replacement for its Midtown Manhattan bus terminal, along with more than $32 billion in construction work for the decade ahead.
New Jersey commissioners and lawmakers had pushed for the $70 million in planning funds for the bus terminal as a condition for allowing the 10-year plan to advance.
“Today's vote by the Port Authority board to allocate $70 million to launch the planning and permitting process for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal is a tremendous victory for bus riders on both sides of the Hudson. This is what we have been fighting for,” said Senate Majority Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen.
The bus terminal is expected to cost $7 billion to $10 billion and take more than 10 years to complete. The construction blueprint contains $3.5 billion for that project, which is needed to replace an already obsolete terminal that’s expected to see demand jump by 50 percent by 2040.
New Jersey lawmakers pushed for the full amount to be budgeted in the 10-year plan, but board chairman John Degnan said that wasn’t realistic given the political constraints of a bi-state agency. Weinberg noted the 10-year plan adopted in 2014 didn’t include any bus-terminal funds.
The existing bus terminal opened in 1950 and was last expanded in 1979. New Jersey officials have advocated moving the terminal one block away, but New York City officials and neighborhood groups have resisted.
“The board made a decision today, ratified today, that the bus terminal will be built on the West Side of Manhattan, period. I don’t see that decision being reversed or changed,” said Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye.
“I’m optimistic our creative engineers can find a way, presuming we get by the environmental permitting, to do this within a 15-year time period,” Degnan said. “I’m also convinced that if we are able to spend the $3.5 billion in this plan during the first 10 years, there’s no way that it won’t be completed.”
In addition to the $3.5 billion for the bus terminal, the 10-year plan includes among other things:
- $4 billion to replace Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport
- The replacement of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport
- Redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport
- $2 billion to rehabilitate the George Washington Bridge
- The completion of the Goethals Bridge replacement and Bayonne Bridge elevation
- Extending the PATH system from Newark Penn Station to Newark Airport
- $2.7 billion for the Gateway project, the proposed train tunnels under the Hudson River
“It’s time to build. In some cases right now it’s time to plan, to design. But we need to get the projects moving,” Foye said.