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Port Authority Board Can't Agree On $29.1B Capital Plan

The Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in Manhattan

Things continue to sour at the Port Authority.

A proposed $29.1B capital plan was met with hostility by the agency’s board members, who couldn’t agree on what projects should be funded or whether spending could damage the agency’s financial standing.

The meeting was the first public reveal of the spending plan. If approved, it would be the agency’s largest capital budget ever, Crain’s reports. 

Currently included is a $2B renovation for the George Washington Bridge; $1.4B helix ramp replacements for the Lincoln Tunnel; $2.5B in improvements for JFK; $2.7B for the Gateway project; and a $3.5B replacement of the agency’s oft-maligned bus terminal (pictured), with $500M from a federal grant and $3B coming from the agency. The agency’s funds for the terminal will be proportional to the each state’s ridership, with NJ providing two-thirds. 

NJ chairman John Degnan has been pushing this plan for months and met resistance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who doesn’t want to spend more than $2B. Degnan blamed Cuomo for delaying the budget, and told the board that the plan was a “living document” that could be altered and adjusted. 

NY board member Ken Lipper was the most vocal opponent, who said the spending would put the agency’s credit rating and operational ability for the next 20 years in jeopardy. 

He also called a $1.7B PATH extension from lower Manhattan to Newark Airport’s AirTrain and a $1.5B AirTrain link from Willets Point to LaGuardia Airport an “absolute waste of public funds.”

The board plans to meet again in January to finalize a draft of the plan. [Crain’s]