Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, issued the following statement Wednesday following testimony from John J. Degnan, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners, concerning the Port Authority’s draft 2017-2026 capital plan:
“Chairman Degnan seemed to walk into today’s meeting with his mind already set on supporting a flawed plan for the future of the Port Authority. After two public hearings and 250 written comments, there is no plan to change the draft, which is disheartening, to say the least.
“What’s most concerning is that hard-working middle-class commuters will have to wait more than a decade before seeing a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, which would benefit not only people in New Jersey, but also businesses in New York. For 250,000 women and men in this state, improving the bus commute would make it easier to reach jobs that make it possible to keep the lights on and put food on the table. For businesses in New York, it would mean employers could rest assured that workers would arrive on time.
“Make no mistake: This is a choice, and it is a poor one. If there were a will to complete a new Port Authority Bus Terminal within 10 years, there would be a way. While the chairman acknowledges the need for a new terminal, he allows the fear of a potential gubernatorial veto in New York to prevent him from leading on this important issue, when in fact, it would be a win-win for both states.
“Economic prosperity in both New Jersey and New York hinges on improving mass transit. The bus terminal is being regarded as an optional expense. In reality, it is a necessary investment that should be made sooner rather than later.”