Port Authority’s electric push

| 13 Feb 2024 | 02:37

    The promise by Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton that electric buses will become the primary user of the new $10 billion Port Authority 42nd Street Bus Terminal is wishful thinking. Who will pay for the cost of each bus operator to convert their respective fleets serving this facility by the promised opening date of 2032?

    This cost is not included within the $10 billion project budget. Neither are funding sources or a procurement schedule for the purchase of electric buses. This critical information is missing. The estimated cost of an electric bus is several hundred thousand more than a traditional standard clean diesel bus. The price depends upon if it is a standard 40-foot, articulated, over-the-road coach or other model. The Port Authority doesn’t acknowledge these costs in the overall project budget.

    Each operator using the Port Authority bus terminal would also have to modify their own respective bus garages to install plug in electric outlets and other features to accommodate electric buses. This could cost millions for each garage. None of these costs are included in the $10 billion overall project cost estimate. Who is going to come up with the funding sources of $1 to $2 billion more for these two additional tasks? How much funding will the Port Authority contribute to NJ Transit and various private bus operators to pay for electric buses and facility conversions? Buses have a useful life of between 12 and 15 years. It would take the bus operators 15 to 20 years before they could convert 100% of their fleets assigned to the 42nd Street Port Authority Bus Terminal routes to be all electric. How many long-distance inter-city buses will be exempt from this requirement?

    Larry Penner

    Great Neck

    Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.