- Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) - Plans to build a new Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York are moving forward, a sign that the interstate feuding that stalled the process over the last several years may finally be coming to an end.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Thursday that it is starting a formal environmental review process to replace the crumbling, 1950s-era facility, the nation’s busiest, with a new terminal in midtown Manhattan.

A plan to build a new terminal on the site of the current facility, at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, has been considered the leading option for the Port Authority and has been the focus of preliminary engineering discussions, Port Authority Executive Director Richard Cotton said earlier this year.

Previously, a plan to construct a new terminal a block west prompted a bitter dispute in which New York lawmakers and community leaders accused the bistate agency’s New Jersey contingent of ignoring their concerns and blundering ahead without their input.

“We are committed to building the replacement bus terminal and to do so in full consultation with the community, with elected officials in both New York and New Jersey, and with all stakeholders,” Cotton said in a statement Thursday.

The terminal handles more than 250,000 passenger trips on weekdays and is a destination for tens of thousands of commuters from New Jersey. It has come under withering criticism in recent years for its leaky ceilings, faulty air conditioners, dirty rest rooms and frequent delays.

A planning document released Thursday will be available for public review and comment during the next four months, with public hearings in July and September.

The estimated cost of a new bus terminal could be as much as $10 billion, and construction likely wouldn’t be complete for at least a decade.

The Port Authority, which operates the region’s bridges, tunnels and transit hubs and owns the World Trade Center site, was criticized after its 10-year capital plan released in 2014 didn’t include money to replace the terminal. In 2017, the authority’s board approved $3.5 billion for the terminal in a revised 10-year plan after months of political sniping.

New York legislators demanded that then-authority chairman John Degnan recuse himself from the bus terminal negotiations because of allegations of favoritism to New Jersey’s interests. New Jersey legislators accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of holding the bus terminal project hostage to preserve more money for a redevelopment of New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

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