Transportation officials plan to build a new 900,000-square-foot, four-story storage and staging area for busses, at the same location, with the addition of an added facility at the west side of Ninth Avenue that would be used for storage, and serve commuters during the construction of the new terminal. It also calls for a bigger set of ramps connecting to the Lincoln Tunnel.
All told, the project is slated to be finished in 2031. Officials during a Thursday press call did not disclose a price tag, but estimates are between seven and 13 billion dollars.
Plans call for the structure to be outfitted for electric buses, with the expectation that NJ Transit’s entire bus fleet will be zero-emission by 2032.
The new terminal would clock in at a total of 2 million square feet, with 160 bus gates spanning five floors. Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said the terminal is designed to last up to 40 years.
“What this is designed to do is give bus riders a facility that the region can be proud of. It needs to be built, and we should size it in a way so we don’t have to go back to the well in any near-future planning horizon,” he said during a Thursday afternoon virtually-held press call.
He was joined by Port Authority Chair Kevin O’Toole, an Essex County Republican and former state Senator.
Steve Plate, the director of major capital projects at the Port Authority, said that the layout is designed more like an airport to prevent the overcrowding commonly associated with the existing structure.
The aging terminal is one of the nation’s most crowded and typically handles 260,000 passenger trips a day.
This new terminal would be built entirely on Port Authority property, meaning the project would not entail the seizure of private property surrounding the site.
The bi-state transportation agency had been reviewing proposals for the past year and a half, whittled down from several dozen different plans. A more controversial proposal called for turning parts of the Javits Center several blocks away into a bus terminal.
Port Authority officials plan to finance the project through revenue from four new private developments, and the commercial, retail and residential revenue they generate.
And regional transportation officials are now dealing with a presidential administration much more sympathetic to public infrastructure projects across the nation, including in the New York City area.
Pete Buttigieg – President Joe Biden’s pick for transportation secretary – told lawmakers on Capitol Hill during his confirmation hearing that he wants to finally “move forward” on the long-stalled Gateway tunnel under the Hudson River.
Retiring New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-37th District – one of the Legislature’s most vocal critics of the Port Authority and NJ Transit – praised the announcement.
It had the support of the state’s top transportation lawmakers: Assembly Transportation Chair Daniel Benson, D-14th District and Senate Transportation Chair Pat Diegnan, D-18th District.