Port Authority unveils revised design for $10B Midtown bus terminal

by TexasDigitalMagazine.com

Renderings courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday unveiled an updated design for the project to build a new modern Midtown bus terminal and announced the publication of the draft environmental impact statement. Plans to replace the rundown 73-year-old bus terminal–the world’s busiest–originated over 10 years ago to accommodate expected ridership growth. The terminal will cost $10 billion and take eight years to build, with construction potentially starting as early as this year.

Current view of the bus terminal. Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

“A magnificent new Midtown Bus Terminal cuts to the core of the Port Authority’s mission by knitting together New Jersey and New York to create an even stronger, more economically vital and easily accessible region,” Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority, said. “We are replacing what’s been a commuters’ nightmare for decades with what will be a beautiful, efficient new bus terminal that will be the world-class gateway our region deserves.”

The plan, as outlined in the draft environmental impact statement, calls for a three-part building plan of a main terminal, a storage and staging facility, and new ramps into the Lincoln Tunnel. The work will take place in two four-year phases.

Proposed project with private development. Courtesy of PANYNJ

Under the proposal, the staging and bus storage facility would be built first to serve as a temporary terminal while the current terminal is razed and rebuilt. To accommodate the new main terminal, the plan calls for part of West 41st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues to be closed permanently. Two decks would be constructed over a section of Dyer Avenue entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel and become over three acres of public open space after the construction is complete. The temporary terminal and new ramps are scheduled for completion in 2028.

The agency wants to allow the private development of two high-rise office towers on Eighth Avenue on the corner of 40th and 42nd Streets to help pay for the construction of the new terminal, via payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), as was done to build the Moynihan Train Hall.

In August 2022, the Port Authority selected the architecture firm Foster + Partners and the engineering and design team Epstein to design the new world-class facility.

New renderings released by the agency on Thursday reveal a multi-story glass atrium, which will act as a grand entrance at 41st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, and street-level local retail. The bus terminal will be designed to be net-zero, serve an all-electric bus fleet, and feature sustainable elements, like onsite renewable energy, zoned heating and cooling systems, and heat recovery and reuse technology.

Other 21st-century technology includes a “world-class traffic management system,” that will use sensor-based monitoring systems to allow for a smoother movement of buses in and out of the terminal.

The release of the draft environmental impact statement by the Federal Transit Administration kicks off the 45-day public comment period. An in-person public hearing is scheduled for February 20 and virtual sessions on February 21 and 22. Sign up for a public hearing session here.

Following public comments, a final environmental impact statement will be published by the FTA, with a decision expected later this year.

Port Authority officials say the agency has $3 billion set aside from its capital plan for the $10 billion project, but is also seeking a $1 billion loan from the federal government.

Plans to replace the terminal, which was constructed in 1950 and last expanded in 1981, were sought by the agency beginning in 2013. Since then, about 30 separate proposals have been produced.

“Today we’re taking a major step forward to transform what is the worst infrastructure eyesore in the nation and replace it with a best-in-class facility. The Port Authority’s goal is to bring to the project the same perspective we have brought to our airport transformation projects,” Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, said.

“Transportation hubs are gateways; they symbolize the region to visitors and residents alike. The new bus terminal will be an inspiring gateway to the city that commuters will actually look forward to using, and that will serve also as an attractive asset to the surrounding community.”


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