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PA Board Gives NJ Lawmakers, Advocates Some of What They Wanted

Friday, January 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
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NJspotlight.com 01/06/17

The Port Authority’s board of commissioners voted yesterday to advance a nearly $30 billion, 10-year capital-spending plan that includes a major commitment to a new midtown Manhattan bus terminal.

While the $3.5 billion that’s now earmarked for the facility falls short of what New Jersey lawmakers and transportation advocates had been hoping to see, it represents the best deal that chairman John Degnan of New Jersey could strike with his New York counterparts at the bistate agency. It’s also likely to be enough money to make it extremely difficult for future agency leaders to pull back on a long-term project that’s been viewed for years as a top priority by Degnan and other New Jersey officials.

Under the draft of the spending plan more than 10 percent of the capital budget will be earmarked for the bus-terminal replacement project, with another $370 million set aside to upgrade the agency’s existing midtown Manhattan bus facility until the new terminal can be built. The new capital plan also includes major commitments to two other projects that are designed to make it easier for New Jersey commuters to reach Manhattan; $2.7 billion is budgeted for the planned Gateway rail-tunnel project, and another $1.7 billion is set aside to extend PATH-train service from lower Manhattan to Newark Liberty International Airport.

Some projections for the bus terminal’s replacement have put the price tag as high as $10 billion, but Port Authority Chairman John Degnan told NJ Spotlight in a recent interview that he believes it can be done for $6 billion to $8 billion. Degnan was pushing for at least $3.5 billion to be budgeted for the replacement project in the new capital plan, an amount that he suggested yesterday was equal with what the agency could realistically spend over the next decade as the project moves ahead.

 


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