After raising fares on its tunnels and bridges, the Port Authority now says that it simply can’t afford to build a bus garage near its bus terminal on Eighth Avenue. Never mind that the garage would provide buses with a place to park while awaiting the next run—a move that would save fuel and improve on-time performance. The agency simply can’t afford the garage.
Of course, like so much else about the Port Authority, the price tag for the garage seems, well, just a little questionable. The Authority estimates that it will cost some $800 million to build the facility on the West Side. We’d like to know how the agency arrived at that extraordinary figure.
What’s more, the P.A. hasn’t really explained why it cannot build a transportation facility that the region so desperately needs. The current system is simply inane: buses filled with commuters travel through the Lincoln Tunnel, drop off their passengers and then return, empty, to park in New Jersey. Or they simply find a place to wait on the streets near the terminal. Those streets are bit crowded, as you may have noticed.
A garage in Manhattan would allow drivers to park their vehicles nearby while they wait for their next scheduled trip. What’s amazing is that such a facility doesn’t already exist near the bus terminal.
Nobody is saying that construction of a garage on the West Side would be easy. But it certainly is necessary. And it would bring in revenue for the Authority from bus lines that use the terminal.
The region’s economy depends on the efficient movement of workers from their homes to their offices and back again. The Port Authority is supposed to make that process quick, efficient and as painless as possible. A garage would help that process. The agency needs to explain why, after getting a fare increase, it can’t afford to build this much-needed facility.