the staff of the Ridgewood blog
TENAFLY NJ, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg today made the following opening statement at the hearing of the formal environmental review process for the replacement and expansion of the new Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City:
“This day has been a long time coming. Three years ago, the expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to accommodate 30,000 additional New Jersey bus commuters wasn’t even in the Port Authority’s 10-Year Capital Plan.
“Today, the Port Authority is holding hearings simultaneously in Bergen County and New York City as part of the formal environmental review process that will lead to the selection of a winning plan and design for the new bus terminal.
“While no decision has been made on a final plan, today’s announcement keeps us on track to add two new floors to the existing Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is the ‘build-in-place’ option preferred by both New York and New Jersey elected officials and by the New York City neighborhood organizations we have been working with.
“With new rail capacity from the Gateway tunnel at least 15 years away, expansion of the bus terminal and the PATH system is critical to expanding trans-Hudson capacity and ensuring that New Jersey commuters share in Manhattan’s projected job growth.
“That’s why we are so focused on ensuring that there is adequate funding to build the increased Port Authority Bus Terminal capacity in the current 10-Year Capital Plan, which runs through 2026, with reconstruction and rehabilitation of the existing structure to follow. I will have more to say about that issue at the hearing on the Port Authority Capital Plan next week.
“On behalf of New Jersey’s bus commuters, I have a lot of people to thank today. First, of course, is former Port Authority Chair John Degnan, who stood up with Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senators Bob Gordon and Tom Kean and me, to insist that we could not wait 10 years to begin planning a new bus terminal. And, by the way, I still don’t know where John Degnan found $90 million in the sofa cushions over at 4 World Trade Center to patch the leaking roof and make other ‘quality of life’ improvements for our commuters.
“Second, of course, is the Port Authority’s leadership team. Chair Kevin O’Toole, who swore a blood oath at his Senate confirmation hearing that he would get a new Port Authority Bus Terminal built. Working collaboratively with Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, he has kept his word, and I would like to thank Rick Cotton for his partnership in advancing this critical partnership.
“Third, I thank the Port Authority staff, particularly Steve Plate, the director of major capital projects whose responsibility it will be to get the new bus terminal built, and Diannae Ehler, the deputy director of tunnels, bridges and terminals who will be responsible for making sure we can get all those buses through the Lincoln Tunnel.
“Finally, I would like to thank the Port Authority Bus Terminal Bi-State Elected Officials Working Group that I co-chaired along with New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, and that proved to be an important vehicle for reaching bistate consensus on the best approach to take.
“New Jersey legislators, our representatives in Washington and local officials have been united on a bipartisan basis in our support for this project. Today’s hearing is an important step in realizing our joint vision.”