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New York NY, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the publication by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) of the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Midtown Bus Terminal replacement and released revised project plans in response to feedback from key stakeholders, including commuters and the surrounding community.
The new Midtown Bus Terminal will replace the existing 73-year-old, functionally obsolete and rundown terminal with a long overdue world-class facility. Reliable and efficient bus service between New York and New Jersey is critical to the interconnected economies of both states, as hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents work in New York City. The new terminal is designed to meet projected 2040-2050 commuter growth, provide a best-in-class customer experience that serves the region’s 21st century public transportation needs, and enhance the surrounding community.
The $10 billion world-class facility will include a new 2.1 million square foot main terminal, a separate storage and staging building and new ramps leading directly into and out of the Lincoln Tunnel. The revised project plan — including a proposal for the permanent closure of a portion of 41st Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, a central main entrance, more street-level retail, and a multi-story indoor atrium and new public open space — will enhance both the commuter and community experience at the world’s busiest bus terminal. The project is expected to create approximately 6,000 good-paying union construction jobs.
“Millions of New Yorkers rely on the Midtown Bus Terminal every year, and this plan reflects a bold vision to make this facility a world-class transit hub,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “Today we are advancing the revised project plan, which will create a more spacious and welcoming environment for passengers throughout the terminal.”
“Today marks an important milestone in our work to modernize our region’s transportation infrastructure. The Midtown Bus Terminal is a fixture in many New Jerseyans’ daily lives, helping them get into or out of New York City,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “This project will ensure New Jersey commuters have access to safe, reliable public transit in a cutting-edge facility that balances our transportation needs with our environmental concerns.”
“A magnificent new Midtown Bus Terminal cuts to the core of the Port Authority’s mission by knitting together New Jersey and New York to create an even stronger, more economically vital and easily accessible region,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “We are replacing what’s been a commuters’ nightmare for decades with what will be a beautiful, efficient new bus terminal that will be the world-class gateway our region deserves.”
“Today we’re taking a major step forward to transform what is the worst infrastructure eyesore in the nation and replace it with a best-in-class facility. The Port Authority’s goal is to bring to the project the same perspective we have brought to our airport transformation projects. Transportation hubs are gateways; they symbolize the region to visitors and residents alike. The new bus terminal will be an inspiring gateway to the city that commuters will actually look forward to using, and that will serve also as an attractive asset to the surrounding community,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We appreciate the hard work on the part of the Federal Transit Administration in carrying out the environmental review. And we look forward to completing our ongoing discussions to reach agreement with the city of New York on the contribution of the PILOT payments related to our commercial development as we work to secure funding for this critical project that will serve as an economic engine for decades to come.”
“The latest announcement of the new Midtown Bus Terminal is great news for New Jerseyans and another step in the right direction for our vital transit system,” said New Jersey State Sen. Kristin Corrado. “As many of my constituents in the 40th District commute to New York City using the bus terminal, I am happy to see this project moving along to provide a better experience for everyone involved.”
“Our public transit system is a lifeblood for our economy, and I am excited to see this next step in the development of the new Midtown Bus Terminal,” said New Jersey State Sen. Holly Schepisi. “I look forward to this much needed upgrade and the improvement it will have on the commuting lives of Bergen County residents as well as all New Jerseyans.”
The Midtown Bus Terminal is currently the world’s busiest bus terminal opened in 1950, after the mayor of New York City requested the Port Authority to consolidate eight separate, smaller bus terminals throughout Midtown Manhattan in order to relieve street congestion. As the regional population grew and expanded geographically, the Port Authority expanded the terminal’s capacity in 1963 by converting previous parking space to a fourth level of bus operations and adding three new levels of public parking for 1,000 cars. By 1966, the terminal served nearly 69 million passengers, once again requiring increased bus capacity. In 1970, the Port Authority constructed a 2-mile exclusive bus lane (XBL) on the New Jersey route 495 approach to the Lincoln Tunnel, giving buses faster access directly to the bus terminal and saving commuters up to 20 minutes. In 1981, the Port Authority expanded the bus terminal’s capacity by 50 percent with a new North Wing extension to 42nd Street and the diagonal girder façade now familiar to bus riders. The current facility spans 1.9 million square feet as the nation’s largest bus terminal and the world’s busiest. Individual carriers, the largest of which is NJ Transit, serve routes for daily commuters throughout New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and the lower Hudson Valley, as well as provide intercity services to and from locations such as upstate New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Canada. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bus terminal served an estimated 125,000 departing passenger trips on an average weekday. As of 2023, the terminal served approximately 98,000 average weekday passengers
The Port Authority’s plan for the Midtown Bus Terminal replacement project outlined in the draft environmental impact statement reflects public feedback from extensive community outreach, including input from New York City, commuters, local community boards and elected officials in both states. The draft environmental impact statement has been prepared to permit construction of a full three-part building plan, which includes a main terminal, a storage and staging facility and new ramps directly into the Lincoln Tunnel that bring a wide array of community benefits, including:
- Added capacity to allow curbside inter-city buses that currently pick up and drop off on city streets surrounding the bus terminal to move their operations inside the bus terminal and off the streets.
- The creation at the end of construction of 3.5 acres of publicly accessible green spaces on Port Authority property by decking over the currently below-grade Dyer Avenue “cut” and building open space on top of the new deck-overs.
- New concessions and retail amenities that will be accessible from the streets in the community as well as from inside the bus terminal.
- The construction of significantly improved and attractive facades, enhancing the visual quality of the new bus terminal to become an asset rather than an eyesore to the surrounding neighborhoods. This design includes an iconic atrium entrance on 41st Street and Eighth Avenue.
To deliver these enhancements (which have added to the cost of the project), the Port Authority is engaged in ongoing discussions with the city of New York to use a financing vehicle associated with plans for commercial development above the new terminal via contribution of payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs), similar to what was done successfully in the building of the Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station. The Port Authority is also well along in the application process of a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to support the project. The updated proposal and the Port Authority’s efforts to secure the needed funding have received overwhelming support from elected officials whose districts include the bus terminal, as well as from community leaders.
The new bus terminal will be built for the future and designed to be net-zero emissions, serving all-electric bus fleets and implementing 21st century technology at every turn. For instance, a world-class traffic management system — including sensor-based monitoring systems — will enable quicker, smoother movement of buses into and out of the new terminal and provide remote monitoring of bus engines to reduce breakdowns in express bus lanes. The building will also include visionary sustainability and resiliency measures, from LEED certification and clean construction to onsite renewable energy, zoned heating and cooling systems, and heat recovery and reuse technology. Community-friendly outward-facing local retail will benefit commuters and the community alike.
The Port Authority’s construction plan for the new bus terminal is being developed with input from carriers, customers, the local community, world-renowned engineering and construction experts, and innovative architectural and design firms. Current plans provide for a phased construction approach with the staging and bus storage facility to be built first, so that it can serve as a temporary terminal while the existing terminal is demolished and rebuilt. The proposal has eliminated the taking of private property as it would be built on existing Port Authority property stretching as far west as 11th Avenue.
The issuance of the draft environmental impact statement by the FTA, as part of the federal environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act, will be followed by a 45-day public comment period and public hearings. Following receipt of public comments, a final environmental impact statement will be prepared and published by the FTA. A decision on the proposal would follow in the form of a federal record of decision, which is targeted for later this year. The project is expected to be constructed in phases, with a temporary terminal and new ramps completed in 2028 and the new main terminal completed in 2032.