The Port Authority Board of Commissioners yesterday approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan–the agency’s largest ever. The major allocations include: $3.5 billion to begin the planning and construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal; $10 billion towards improving trans-Hudson commuting, including a $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement, completion of the $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuilding, and a $2 billion rehab of the George Washington Bridge; $11.6 billion in major airport upgrades, which factors in $4 billion for the new LaGuardia Terminal B, a plan to extend the PATH train from Newark Penn Station to the Newark Airport, and the beginning of Cuomo’s JFK overhaul; and $2.7 billion towards the Gateway rail tunnel project.
As 6sqft reported last month, the capital plan had been pegged as “quid quo pro,” with “interstate jealousies over funding” taking precedent over regional need. As such, Governor Cuomo’s office had announced that the $32 billion plan would dedicate $9.8 billion to New York projects, $9.8 billion to New Jersey projects, and $12 billion to interstate projects. The most contentious of the projects has undoubtedly been the new Port Authority Bus Terminal, a 10-year, $10 billion endeavor. This past November, planning came to a stand still when the agency disagreed over budget concerns and the design process, and more recently Governor Cuomo was overheard referring to it as a “New Jersey project.” Despite the $3.5 allocation towards the Terminal, many elected officials still feel it’s not enough and won’t allow the project to proceed in a timely manner.
In a statement, Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said, “There’s no question that the region’s transportation needs are growing at a far greater rate than the resources that are available to address them. For that reason, this Board has spent tireless hours coming to a consensus on how our resources will be spent to benefit the region and the customers we serve. We have developed a plan that invests in the most critical projects including critical improvements to trans-Hudson capacity, while providing the flexibility to make future changes should new, more vital needs emerge.” Overall, the Port Authority says the 2017-2026 Capital Plan will create 235,400 jobs and generate $56 billion in economic activity.
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