HELL’S KITCHEN — The Port Authority plans to allocate $3.5 billion to replace the aging bus terminal on Eighth Avenue — despite its chairman’s belief that it won’t be enough money to finish building it within a decade.
The agency’s commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to move forward with their proposed $29.5 billion capital plan, $3.5 billion of which will be used to construct the new terminal.
Prior to the vote, however, chairman John Degnan said he wasn’t “wildly enthusiastic” about the plan in its entirety.
“Do I think it has enough money to finally erect a new bus terminal in the 10-year period? No. But do I think if we had more money we could spend it in that 10-year period to get the bus terminal done? I don’t," he said.
“[But] I am convinced that if we spend $3.5 billion during that 10-year-period, this Port Authority will find a way to finish it,” Degnan added. “It would be the height of irresponsibility not to finish a project into which we had sunk that amount of money. It’s got to be done right, and it needs to be done.”
Advocates had hoped the agency would provide more funding for the terminal, citing concerns about securing additional funding in the future and possible the closure of one of the Hudson River rail tunnels, NJ.com reported.
Manhattan politicians, meanwhile, recently asked Degnan to recuse himself from the bus terminal planning process, claiming he hadn't ruled out using eminent domain to seize land in Hell's Kitchen for the project.
Both the elected officials and the Port Authority say the planning process for the controversial new terminal has been "restarted."
At a press conference following the board meeting, Degnan said the $3.5 billion would at least ensure “shovels in the ground, and construction underway, by the end of the 10-year period,” with unfinished work wrapping up as part of the subsequent 10-year plan.
The governors of both New Jersey and New York will have to sign off on the capital plan before it’s finalized, Degnan noted.