NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A funding fight has erupted over the construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, with top New Jersey officials slamming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for trying to back out of an agreement to help pay for it.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the New Jersey lawmakers did not mince words.
“This is a governor attempting to take control of the Port Authority through manipulation, intimidation, and bullying,” said New Jersey state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).
“We are not going to let New York’s governor sidetrack us,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford/Salem).
“An unprecedented attack,” said state Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Fair Lawn). “We see a governor trying to develop his own capital budget to advance his pet projects.”
The pushback stemmed from Cuomo’s attempt to push aside a Bridgegate-weakened New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and force the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to cut funds for the new bus terminal so there is more to expand John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.
“We’ve got a message for Mr. Cuomo – New Jersey won’t be bullied,” Weinberg said.
Officials said they want $6 billion for the bus terminal – triple the $2 billion that Cuomo is reportedly willing to budget.
Team Cuomo argues that more is not needed, because while there are five different proposals, planning and environmental impact studies take years. They claim New Jersey is willing to paralyze the operations of the Port Authority just to get an agreement on their terms.
Commuters said the present terminal is woefully inadequate.
“This thing is old, very old,” said Damond Wright of North Brunswick. “There’s a long line for the buses to get in and out, and you need a bigger structure. We have a lot of traffic coming in and out.”
“They built it when, the 1950s? I think it’s time – the ceilings are leaking. I think it’s time,” said Kyle Hoekstra of Monsey.
What the New Jersey politicians are also worried about is that if a new bus terminal is not built, people will start moving to other suburban communities such as Westchester County, Rockland County, or Long Island, where they can take a train and do not have to take a bus.
Already one of the busiest terminals in the nation, the number of people using the bus terminal is expected to double from 120,000 people each way to 240,000 in the next 25 years.