NEW YORK (AP) – New York City’s main bus station, which has long been ridiculed for leaky ceilings, dirty bathrooms, and frequent delays, could use a major renovation.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday presented a proposal to rebuild and expand the contested bus terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
“Everyone knows the bus station. Very few have anything good to say, ”said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority. “It is long past that this building was replaced.”
The new station would be built on top of the existing station with slim entrances with glass walls and additional infrastructure for more buses. Ramps that span several blocks would be moved and a warehouse would be built to keep empty buses off the streets.
Construction work could begin in 2024 and be completed by 2031, the port authority said. Previous estimates put the cost of a new bus terminal at up to $ 10 billion. In addition to the roughly $ 3 billion already included in the agency’s capital plan, the funds would come from a variety of sources, including federal dollars and the sale of rights to build up to four new commercial towers in the area.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal opened in 1950 on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets near Times Square.
In front of the main entrance is a statue of Ralph Kramden, the fictional bus driver from “The Honeymooners”. It also provided a fitting backdrop for Midnight Cowboy, the 1969 film that shed light on New York’s shabby underworld.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 250,000 passenger trips were made on weekdays, many of them commuting from New Jersey. A study commissioned by the port authority forecast the number would rise to over 330,000 by 2040.
Tom Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, an urban planning think tank, called the new plan “a creative approach to a complicated problem.”
“Establishing the Port Authority’s bus terminal for the 260,000 people who rely on it every weekday is one of the highest infrastructure priorities for our region,” he said. “The prosperity of our tri-state region depends on our ability to provide access to all locations that connect the region and people with jobs. “
Officials have debated for years about replacing or overhauling the busiest bus station in the country. However, political disputes between lawmakers and Port Authority officials from both states stalled the project while other major infrastructure projects progressed, including a new transportation hub at the World Trade Center and billions in the redesign of LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty airports.
The bus station was not included in the Port Authority’s 10-year capital plan in 2014, adding to the ire of New Jersey commuters and lawmakers.
Corrected this story to remove an indication of $ 3 billion in funding from the sale of rights to build up to four commercial towers. The $ 3 billion is included in the Port Authority’s capital plan.
Associate press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.
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