• Transit agency sets September 2016 deadline for picking winner
  • Replacing current terminal may cost as much as $10 billion

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a competition for plans to replace the agency’s neglected 65-year-old bus terminal near Times Square with a bigger facility that may cost as much as $10 billion.

At its monthly board meeting Thursday, the transit agency also approved soliciting proposals for how to meet and manage cross-Hudson commuter demand over the next 30 years, as well as an analysis of construction costs.

“We’ve taken an important first step today,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “We still have a lot of work to do. We’re going to have to find the money for this project, for other projects that are being presented to the board.”

After two years of study, the Port Authority subcommittee recommended building a new terminal between Ninth and Eleventh Avenues, one block west of the current building. To minimize commuter disruption, the old terminal would operate until the new one is completed. The current depot serves about 230,000 daily and is operating beyond capacity.

The Port Authority board would select a winner of the design competition no later than its September 2016 board meeting.

To help finance the project, the agency could sell the current site to developers. The transit agency hasn’t identified other funding sources.

The transit agency also has to find money to help fund a $20 billion plan for a new commuter-rail tunnel under the Hudson River. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have asked the federal government to pay half the cost.

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