New York City's Midtown Manhattan bus terminal replacement project advanced last week after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a draft environmental impact statement and a revised project plan based on feedback from commuters, residents and local officials. 

The proposed $10 billion rebuild of the country’s largest and the world’s busiest bus terminal updates a plan originally pitched in 2021. The revised plan would include a 2.1-million-sq-ft main terminal, a bus storage and staging facility and ramps directly connected to the Lincoln Tunnel. The proposal also calls for two additional support structures on Port Authority property to reduce street bus congestion and create 3.5 acres of community green space.

The “major step forward” will transform “the worst infrastructure eyesore in the nation and replace it with a best-in-class facility,” Rick Cotton, the Port Authority’s executive director said in a statement. 

Phased construction would allow for the terminal’s continued use throughout the approximately eight-year project. After it's completed in 2028, the bus storage and staging facility would serve as a temporary terminal while the existing terminal is demolished. The project is expected to create 6,000 union construction jobs and be completed by 2032, the Port Authority says.  

The Port Authority is currently applying for a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to help finance the project. The authority is also negotiating plans for commercial development above the terminal with city officials via payments in lieu of taxes—a similar financing vehicle used to fund Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station.  

“We look forward to completing our ongoing discussions to reach agreement with the city of New York on the contribution of the PILOT payments related to our commercial development as we work to secure funding for this critical project that will serve as an economic engine for decades to come,” Cotton said.

After the 45-day public comment period expires this spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce its decision on the final EIS by the end of the year.

Sustainable Makeover

The Port Authority says the bus terminal’s first major upgrade since 2007 addresses a slew of longstanding problems that affect local residents and the 98,000 passengers that travel through it daily, ranging from street and terminal congestion to local air pollution to appearance. 

The project replaces an “eyesore of an outdated and deteriorating bus terminal with a modern, efficient transportation hub that meets the needs of both commuters and residents while contributing to the continued growth and success of New York City,” U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

The plan boasts a range of sustainability features to meet its goal of net zero emissions, including all electric bus fleets and charging stations, onsite renewable energy, zoned heating and cooling systems as well as heat recovery and reuse technology. A new traffic management system with sensor-based monitoring systems will improve traffic flow in and out of the terminal and allow for remote monitoring of bus engines to reduce breakdowns in express bus lanes. 

The makeover also includes a new facade, a multi-story indoor atrium and space for new commercial and retail amenities accessible from the street and inside the terminal. 

Proposed decking erected over the current below-grade Dyer Avenue “cut” creates an area for public green space to be installed after the terminal’s construction is complete. 

While the bus terminal’s original construction beginning in the 1940s relied on eminent domain that had a lasting impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, the redesign seeks to address some of those impacts and its expansion will take place only on Port Authority property. According to the Port Authority, “extensive community outreach” has been a key tenet in the design process, marking a transition toward deeper consideration of the needs of those most impacted by the terminal’s presence. 

“For too long, the bus terminal and its roads have been dividing lines in Hell's Kitchen, separating communities and making life difficult for residents,” Jessica Chait, chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, said in a statement.