Rifts evident as Port Authority wrestles over new bus terminal
There's dissension in New York and New Jersey's major transportation agency over how it will spend its money over the next 10 years.
Commissioners at the Port Authority are wrestling with a new 10-year capital plan that will include money for a new bus terminal.
The plan has been redone after a previous 10-year plan released in 2014 was criticized for not including any money to replace New York's decaying, six-decade-old bus terminal. It is the nation's busiest.
New Jersey officials are asking for billions of dollars to be allocated to build the new terminal a few blocks away from the old terminal in Manhattan. More than 115,000 New Jersey residents commute into New York for work via the terminal.
"We really have no choice. Unless we get this bus terminal built within 10 years, New Jersey is going to face years of economic distress," says New Jersey state Sen. Bob Gordon.
New Jersey Port Authority Chairman John Degnan says that he wants to see at least $3.5 billion go toward the new terminal in the agency's capital plan.
New York officials in the agency say that $3.5 billion is too much. They took Degnan to the state ethics board over the issue. The board ruled this week that Degnan does not have any conflict of interest when it comes to building the new terminal.
At Thursday's board meeting, they decided not to publish a draft plan until a consensus is reached. Initially the plan was to be released for public comment this month.
Degnan says that a special meeting will need to be held to address the concerns some members of the board have over the spending.
After Thursday's meeting, Port Authority Executive Director Pay Foye released a statement about the capital plan.
"This capital plan provides parity between the states and derails Chairman Degnan's political agenda. For the bus terminal project, the Port Authority committed only $3 billion in capital plan funding - two thirds from New Jersey, one third from New York - which is directly proportional to the ridership from each state that uses the terminal. The remaining $500 million must be raised through a federal grant."
A meeting is expected to be held for officials to debate the plan before it is finalized in February.