The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a preliminary $32 billion 10-year capital plan that advances partial funding for a replacement of its Manhattan bus terminal.
The capital plan unanimously approved Thursday by the authority's board allocates $3.5 billion toward a new bus terminal, a project estimated to cost around $10 billion. The long-range plan is also highlighted by $2.5 billion for the redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport and a new AirTrain system to serve LaGuardia Airport along with $1.7 billion to extend PATH train service to Newark International Airport. The Port Authority is scheduled to vote on a finalized 10-year plan on Feb. 17 after taking public comments.
Five New Jersey Senate Democratic and Republican leaders issued a statement Thursday expressing concerns that $3.5 billion will not be sufficient funding to open a new bus terminal. The Senate Legislative Oversight Committee has scheduled an "in-depth" hearing on the Port Authority's proposed 2017-2026 capital plan for Jan. 17.
"If this plan is adopted without changes, we are concerned that the Port Authority's allocation of just $3 billion in Port Authority funds for construction of a new bus terminal on the West Side of Manhattan means that a new bus terminal will not be completed until at least 2028 or later," said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck. "The 115,000 commuters who go through that bus terminal twice a day should not have to wait 12 to 15 years for a new terminal to be built."
The Jan. 17 hearing will also address the Port Authority's role in the Gateway Rail Tunnel project connecting New Jersey and Manhattan under the Hudson River. As part of the capital plan, both New Jersey and New York have agreed to pay debt service on a $2.7 billion federal loan for the Gateway project.
"Our concern is that funding plans for projects critical to commuters in both states, including the Gateway Project, the PATH extension to Newark Airport, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the LaGuardia Air Train, are reliant on assumptions in federal grant allocations," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, R-Westfield. "We don't want to see any of these important infrastructure improvements delayed for another decade because of poor financial forecasting."
The 10-year plan also dedicates $7.6 billion to finish projects currently under construction including replacing the Goethals Bridge, raising the Bayonne Bridge and PATH's signal replacement program. The $7.6 billion total includes $2.5 billion to support LaGuardia Airport's ongoing Terminal B redevelopment project.
"This region needs new and upgraded transportation infrastructure to deal with regional growth," Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said in a statement. "This ambitious plan proposes to invest billions to maintain the agency's world-class bridges, tunnels, airports, seaport and PATH system in a state of good repair while continuing to rebuild and expand existing facilities and build new ones to meet the region's growth."