Two of the biggest transportation projects in the city remain on the drawing board, but a new report calls on state and federal agencies to take a fresh look at ways to expand them. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has more.
More commuters than ever are flooding into the city from across the Hudson River; with 400,000 people further straining a regional transportation network that's already stretched near capacity at two of the city's main transit hubs, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown.
"We're living on borrowed time," said Tom Wright, the president of the Regional Plan Association. "And we face the potential crisis in kind of the capacity, the delays, and the potential of parts of it failing."
But with a new Hudson River Rail Tunnel, and a replacement for the Bus Terminal, still years and billions of dollars away, Regional Plan Association officials say state and federal agencies should think bigger.
Wednesday, the planning group released "Crossing the Hudson," a report highlighting the boom in trans-Hudson travel in the last-quarter century, with close to 7,700 buses coming into Manhattan daily — an increase of 83 percent over the past 25 years — and rail trips into Penn Station nearly tripling.
"This is not sustainable," Wright said.
The report says state and federal agencies should accelerate and expand the Gateway Program, the nearly $30 billion project to build a rail tunnel under the Hudson, extending to a new station on the East Side of Manhattan and tunnels to Queens.
"That allows you to get more people off of buses and onto trains," Wright said.
But funding for Gateway — which would have New York and New Jersey split half the tab, with the federal government picking up the rest — is no sure thing. The same goes for overhauling the outdated Bus Terminal, or building a second, smaller station.
The report also points out that the Port Authority has $3.5 billion set aside in its current plan for a new bus terminal. The report says that could be built in the basement of the Javits Center.
"Rebuilding at 42nd Street is going to cost $10 billion or more," Wright said. "It's going to take them another ten years to come up with that money. We think that with the $3 billion that they have in hand, they should see what they can do at Javits."
Representatives for the Port Authority and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined comment.