Disagreements within the Port Authority over the future of the bus terminal have stymied the project for quite some time, but the agency is now exploring a different path in order to move forward.
It’s one that’s been suggested before—to study the potential of rebuilding or building on top of the current location, and now the Port Authority has decided to pursue that plan in earnest, the Associated Press reports.
At a board meeting on Thursday, agency officials announced that a consultant would complete a study on the existing site by this July and present it to the board at their meeting in September.
In January this year, the agency finally pledged $3.5 billion towards a new bus terminal after months of fighting, and the cost of building at the existing site will be one of the major aspects of this new study.
Hell’s Kitchen residents and elected officials had previously expressed opposition to a new terminal, which was planned west of the current location. Residents argued that they had not been included in the process whatsoever. After pressure from local residents mounted, the Port Authority relented and agreed to open the process to more community feedback.
This latest decision to study the current location comes months after a set of finalists were revealed for a design competition to relocate the terminal. Those proposals varied between $3.7 billion to $15.3 billion in terms of total cost, and would handily surpass the budget set aside for the project by the Port Authority.
In addition to the funding it has set aside, the agency will explore a private funding source, according to the AP. If the proposal to build on the current site is accepted by the board, an environmental review would take anywhere between 18 months to two years before the project actually gets underway.