TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The question of who will pay for a huge new Port Authority Bus Terminal is coming down to an interstate fight.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, New York and New Jersey legislators are butting heads over funding for a transportation hub shared by hundreds of thousands of commuters in both states.
New Jersey legislators are now urging commissioners from the west side of the Hudson River not to approve the bi-state Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $32 billion, 10-year capital plan.
“It is at best, third-world Bus Terminal in a first-world city,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “It’s something we should all be collectively embarrassed with, and we need to address it right away.”
The proposed plan only includes $3.5 billion for a new bus terminal that 110,000 New Jersey riders use. The Port Authority estimates the cost of replacing it to be closer to $10 billion – a number that the agency’s chairman says New York is against.
“Governor (Andrew) Cuomo would veto the capital plan, if by including $10 billion in the capital plan for bus terminal, we had to decrease the amount that goes to projects like JFK Visioning or the LaGuardia AirTrain,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan.
Assembly members on both sides of the aisle in New Jersey had a big problem with the New York plan.
“It seems like we’re being held for ransom over here by state of New York, and I’m appalled by that,” said New Jersey Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany).
Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-Bridgewater) said a new terminal should be a priority, given how connected the region is.
“It would seem to me that this is best transitional measure to increase capacity to get the highly-skilled work force from New Jersey into the city to support their economic engine,” DiMaio said.
New Jersey has six commissioners on the Port Authority Board, while New York has four with two vacancies. Both sides need three votes to pass, but either Cuomo or Gov. Chris Christie can veto the plan if it is passed.
The Port Authority Board meets on Thursday for the vote.