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Replacing the Port Authority’s neglected bus terminal near Times Square with a bigger facility may cost more than $10 billion and take at least 15 years to complete, according to the preliminary findings of a study.
One concept envisions a five-level terminal, covering 3.5 city blocks, said a person with knowledge of the study, which was commissioned by the transportation agency. The 65-year-old depot, which serves 230,000 commuters daily, covers two blocks. The findings will be released Thursday at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s monthly board meeting.
“In 2040, more than 42,000 commuters each hour — the capacity of Citi Field — will use the Port Authority Bus Terminal during the afternoon peak,” agency spokesman Chris Valens in a statement. Consulting firms including Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates are “focused on creating a road map to assess the significant demand for trans-Hudson bus capacity,” he said.
The $10 billion estimate represents 36 percent of the Port Authority’s current $27.6 billion 10-year capital plan to maintain and improve its four bridges, two tunnels, three airports, ports and the World Trade Center site. To build a new terminal, the Port Authority would have to move its bus operations to a temporary facility while the old station is demolished and replaced.
Other options, which would cost $8 billion to $10 billion and take as long as 15 years, include moving the terminal west and developing two skyscrapers on Eighth Avenue. Proceeds from the sale of development rights would help finance construction, according to the person familiar with the study, who wasn’t authorized to speak before the findings are released.
Port Authority Commissioner Kenneth Lipper, a former New York City deputy mayor, has pressed the agency to replace the depot, the world’s busiest. After commuters and New Jersey lawmakers complained last year about late buses, long lines and leaky ceilings, the Port Authority committed an additional $90 million to the bus terminal’s capital budget.
Including the extra funds, the Port Authority is allocating less than 1 percent of its current capital plan to the bus terminal. By contrast, the PATH train system from New Jersey, which serves about 9 million fewer riders, will get $3.3 billion or 12 percent.
The findings of the Port Authority’s preliminary report on the bus terminal were reported Tuesday by Capital New York.
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