The unveiling of a new, $32 billion capital spending plan by the New York region’s largest transportation agency after a year of negotiating didn’t tamp down criticism Thursday by New Jersey legislators who say the plan doesn’t allocate enough for a desperately needed bus terminal in midtown Manhattan.
The much-anticipated capital plan replaces an earlier 10-year plan that was finalized in 2014 and didn’t include money to replace the decaying, 6-decade-old Port Authority Bus Terminal that even Port Authority officials have called “appalling” and “functionally obsolete.”
That raised a hue and cry from lawmakers west of the Hudson River, a region that sends roughly 115,000 commuters into Manhattan each day by bus. That number is expected to grow to 165,000 by 2040, according to a recent study. Studies also have concluded the concrete slabs the buses traverse as they ascend ramps into the terminal will have to be replaced in the next 20 years to avoid failure.
The plan approved Thursday allocates $3.5 billion to a new bus terminal, a little less than half a projected price tag of $7 billion. Port Authority Chairman John Degnan conceded that will not get a new terminal built in 10 years, but he expressed hope that its completion would be envisioned in the next 10-year plan.
In addition to the bus terminal and air train projects, the capital plan envisions $2.3 billion to redevelop Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal A and about $1 billion toward a $10 billion redevelopment of Kennedy Airport announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week. Executive Director Patrick Foye said the rest of the JFK project will be funded by private capital and state transportation money.
About $8.8 billion is earmarked for maintaining existing facilities in a state of good repair; $2 billion to complete post-Superstorm Sandy restoration projects and $7.6 billion to complete projects in progress.