‘Notorious’ Port Authority Bus Terminal Could Get Overhaul of $ 10 Billion

Few public places in the country have been so frequently and well derived as the Port Authority Bus Terminal in the center of Manhattan.

The deserted 70-year-old station, with its dripping ceilings and dingy vestibules, is synonymous with the overcrowded, crumbling infrastructure in New York City.

Now, the agency operating the bus terminal in the country – the busiest – is on final offer to convert into a 21st-century transit hub, capable of handling many more buses.

The project is announced on Thursday after the Moynihan train hall begins on January 1, a majestic, light-filled terminus to reduce congestion and offer a more attractive entrance to New York than Pennsylvania Station, which is arguably The most unhappy train is the center in the United States.

Taken together, the projects, along with the reconstruction of La Guardia Airport and an overhaul of Kennedy International Airport, signal an ambitious reconstruction of New York’s deformed infrastructure after decades of decline, and they provide the city an important place Can because it struggles to recover. From the epidemic.

The bus terminal scheme, which has been in operation for more than seven controversial years, would cost $ 10 billion and could take a decade to complete. It was unveiled amid a steep decline in the financial position of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency operating the terminal.

The proposal also states that New York City is trying to rebound from one of the biggest economic crises in memory and deal with growing questions about the future of Midtown Manhattan office space.

The virus has killed more than 26,000 city residents, eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs, forcing the permanent closing of hundreds of restaurants and other small business, and draining New York of billions of dollars of tax revenue . The commercial real estate industry has been devastated by one of the city’s main economic engines, with 14 percent of office space in Midtown vacant and only 10 percent of Manhattan’s 10 million workers moving into their offices by the end of October .

Many companies are keeping their workforce in-house in the middle of the year, and some employers are reducing their Manhattan footprint and shifting to a larger work-from-home model. Some of the city’s biggest developers are worrying that the office buildings won’t even fill, as the epidemic again, pushing for a plan to convert vacant office space into housing.

Bus portions of riders heading to the city’s metro stations and suburban transit hubs have returned, and many buses and trains have congested, questions about the future of reducing and enforcing severe financial stress on transit agencies Pick up.

The Port Authority appears more sharply on the city’s prospects as it pursues an expensive bus terminal. The agency hopes to help finance the project by placing a commercial tower on top of the expanded terminal and selling three other high-rate construction rights nearby.

The Port Authority is also counting on federal aid to avoid plans for major improvements to other transportation facilities operating in the region, including La Guardia and Kennedy, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport.

Port Authority officials estimated that the epidemic would generate revenue of about $ 3 billion due to a steep drop in air travel early next year.

Even though many big projects line up in front of the bus terminal in the Port Authority’s building plan, agency officials say they intend to change it.

“The Port Authority is committed to dramatically transforming one of the area’s most notorious and out-of-date transit facilities,” said Rick Cotton, the agency’s executive director.

Mr. Cotton said it was too soon to provide a reliable estimate of the cost of the project, which has been estimated at $ 7.5 billion to $ 10 billion in the past. The proposal, which he called “simple”, must still be received through environmental reviews before it can compete for any federal funding. He said the agency had a “10-year timeframe” to complete the project.

An earlier proposal created panic among community leaders as it suggested liberal use of eminent domain powers to move the terminal. But the revised plan is less likely to upset the terminal’s neighbors in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood as it does not include any personal property.

Instead, they will rebuild and expand the existing bus terminal, keeping it open to passengers.

The new proposal also addresses a continuing complaint by Manhattan residents: a steady stream of intercity buses that stop and drop passengers at various curbsides, stop traffic and block pavements. There is a plan to build a depot to the west of the main terminal that can accommodate those buses and provide storage for others.

The Port Authority has scrapped several options, including building a new terminal under the old one, Jacob’s. Under the Javits Convention Center or incorporated in New Jersey.

Thomas K., chief executive of the Regional Planning Association, an influential planning group. “They’ve basically come up with a better plan,” Wright said.

Mr. Wright said that replacing the terminal is a necessity no matter how much it costs due to an integral role in the city’s daily commuting. According to the Port Authority, more than 250,000 people passed through it on a typical weekday before the epidemic. Since March, that traffic has dropped by more than 65 percent.

“New York exists without its connections to surrounding communities and the work force,” Mr. Wright said. “Without it, the city enters a period of decline.”

The bus terminal, a brick hull at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, has long exceeded its capacity – when it opened in the late 1950s, it was expected to handle 60,000 passengers a day. Although the station was rehabilitated in the early 1980s, it cannot accommodate the crush of passengers, mostly from New Jersey, who use it in normal times.

The Port Authority wants the new terminal to be able to handle 1,000 buses during peak evening hours, up from about 850 this evening. It will also be designed to provide charging equipment for electric buses, as planned.

Buses may be less romantic than trains, but other big cities are investing in their bus transportation systems to help reduce traffic and pollution from cars. More than a dozen US cities, including San Francisco, Denver and Raleigh, NC, have moved over the past decade to build new bus stations or multimodal transit hubs that bring bus and rail services together, Joseph P. Skillman, a professor of public service at DePaul University in Chicago.

“You do a lot of bang for your buck with bus terminals because you can pack a lot in a small space and move a lot of people,” Mr. Schwrightman said.

In San Francisco, the Salesforce Transit Center, a $ 2.2 billion regional transportation center, consolidates regional bus service in 2018 into a terminal that covers more than four downtown blocks and includes a fitness center, store and a rooftop park is. There is a plan to add rail service which will connect with the region and the state.

Of course, no American city compares New York to the sheer number of buses that arrive at it every morning during rush hours. In addition to the suburban commuter fleet, the city is a hub for regional and national bus companies and has the largest municipal bus system in the country.

“New York is in a class with its own large-scale program of operations,” Mr. Schwitterman said. “You have this crush of motor coaches during rush hour. This is a tremendous logical challenge. “

But the question of what to do and how to pay for a new bus terminal has plundered Port Authority officials for years. In early 2017, following heated debate among its commissioners, the agency poured $ 3.5 billion into its long-term capital plan to replace the terminal.

Mr. Cotton said that the cost of this project would be much higher. But the agency hopes to sell the development rights and sign a deal with the city to allow developers to pay towards the project in return for local taxes.

The agency also intends to seek federal transportation funds, which it does not typically receive. Port authority projects are usually paid for by a combination of the agency’s own funds and contributions from private developers. The agency collects tolls on its bridges and tunnels that connect New York City to New Jersey, and pays fees and fares at its airports, seaports and other facilities.

Port Authority officials have called for emergency assistance to compensate for revenue generated during the epidemic.

“We’ve been raising this alarm since the early weeks of last spring,” Mr. Cotton said. “We believe that the projects in the Port Authority Capital Plan can make a major contribution to resuming the economy, and we can make a big impact in terms of near-term spending on projects that are ready to go.”

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