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New York, New Jersey officials spar over Port Authority Bus Terminal redevelopment delays

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NJ officials are accusing their NY counterparts of promoting their own pet projects

The drama surrounding the Port Authority Bus Terminal revamp is relentless. If it’s not about city officials pushing the agency to make the process more transparent, it’s about state officials from New York and New Jersey bickering amongst themselves. This week, lawmakers from New Jersey have accused Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (among others) of delaying the bus terminal project, and instead promoting projects they are partial to, Politico reports.

Led by State Senate president Stephen Sweeney, a group of Democratic elected officials in the Garden State have called on New Jersey’s Port Authority commissioners to halt the agency’s capital plan from being approved this Thursday, unless $70 million are committed towards the planning and design phase of the terminal.

The elected officials there feel that Governor Cuomo is more concerned about moving projects like the JFK and LaGuardia Airports upgrade forward, and that a robust new bus terminal will suffer as a result.

The Port Authority is expected to pass its $32 billion capital plan this Thursday, and $3.5 billion have been allocated to the bus terminal redesign. That will be nowhere near the projected total costs especially when you consider the finalists for the bus terminal redesign competition—one of the finalists estimated $15.3 billion for a new terminal.

This latest charge by New Jersey officials follows shortly after the de Blasio administration sent a letter to the Port Authority that it carry out a multilayered environmental review of the terminal concurrent with the new construction project, in order to explore any alternatives.

John Degnan, the chairman of the Port Authority, told Politico that enough studies had been conducted to determine that there was a definite need for a new terminal, and found it curious that New York officials had not requested additional studies for other initiatives like the Gateway Project.

It now remains to be seen if this latest development will influence the Port Authority’s decision making on Thursday. It is important to note that both the New York and New Jersey governors have the power to veto the Port Authority’s decisions.