JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A plan to transform the deteriorating Port Authority Bus Terminal from a crumbling eyesore into a gleaming new facility for about $9 billion has been rejected as too costly.

The price tag to rebuild terminal in the heart of Midtown is more than twice as high as that for the World Trade Center transportation hub.

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The rebuilding plan was presented Thursday to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s board after the agency spent months studying how to replace the terminal. Port Authority commissioners demanded cheaper options.

The proposals had included new ramp connections to the Lincoln Tunnel and additional space so buses would not have to return to New Jersey for parking during layovers, WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported.

Board Member Kenneth Lipper thinks selling the World Trade Center property could net $3 billion.

“Sixty-acre Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn employs about 300 people,” Lipper said. “Its tiny operatiosn could easily be moved to existing port facilities in New Jersey.”

However, there’s one problem, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

“Many of our real estate projects produce revenues which are pledged under our consolidation bonds for the bond holders,” Board Chairman John Degman said.

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Degman said attorneys and bond holders will say how much they canspend from selling properties, like the World Trade Center.

The 64-year-old terminal is the busiest in the country, handling about 220,000 passenger trips daily.

The 42nd Street terminal sees 28,000 people boarding a bus every hour during the evening rush, and the Port Authority wants to see that increase to 42,000.

The agency said the sale of air rights over its Manhattan real estate could help foot the bill, Murnane reported.

The last major bus terminal upgrade was in 1979 – an era when the terminal and the area around it comprised a seedy district known for crime, prostitution and vagrancy.

New Jersey lawmakers complained last year that the Port Authority set aside just 0.002 percent of its $27 billion, 10-year capital budget for improvements at the bus terminal. The Port Authority announced in July that it was “repurposing” $90 million additional dollars for improvements at the terminal, but critics said that would not be enough.

A building expert says the proposed transformation project is so expensive because the terminal must be built with the world’s heaviest structural steel.

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