NEW YORK CITY-When it comes to rebuilding the World Trade
Center, the Port Authority needs to "figure out a way to come up with something"
for financing the project, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a radio address
on Friday. Staying on message, the mayor cited an earlier joint statement from
his office along with New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who say
"this country's not going to stand for a hole in the ground," at Ground Zero.
Implying that both the New Jersey
and New York Governors should exert greater influence over decisions at the
bi-state agency, Bloomberg suggested that in New York's
case, the PA should also respond to the Mayor, not just the Governor, since
many of its larger projects are within New
York City borders.
But a spokesperson for Governor David Paterson's office
tells GlobeSt.com that the "Port Authority runs regional transportation
facilities; it should remain in the hands of the Governors."
That said, the Mayor used his air-time to propose tapping
into another pool of funds to help finance the WTC project. He told listeners
"maybe we can get Congress to help and re-allocate some of the funds for projects
that probably aren't going to get done in the short term, like Moynihan
Station." News reports later quoted Mayoral aides as saying he was talking
about $2 billion in un-used tax credits Congress appropriated to city
transportation projects after 9/11 including Moynihan Station.
The Mayor's suggestion came a day after Port Authority of
New York and New Jersey executive director Chris Ward implied to a Business and
Labor Coalition breakfast forum that a number of large PA transportation hub
and infrastructure projects may not happen because of the "$12 billion" being
spent by the Port at the World Trade Center which could lead to challenging
Lending support to Port Authority concerns, the Governor's
spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that "the more money that goes into Ground Zero,
the less money goes into other programs."
Calling the money re-route idea perplexing, a spokesperson
for the Regional Planning Association says while its understandable the Mayor
wants the WTC deal to move forward, there are alternatives to taking funds that
were allocated to Moynihan station. More to the point, the RPA spokesperson
says it "feels very strongly that the role of the PA should be in building and
maintaining the region's infrastructure, not being an investor in commercial
office space," raising further questions as to what funds the Mayor was
actually talking about.
Governor Paterson's spokesperson says any stimulus funding
for the Moynihan project would come from a discretionary program that would not
be able to be used for Ground Zero. The spokesperson adds "Port Authority
continues to work with the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and
Regardless, as has been the case with the World Trade
Center project, efforts
at realizing the Moynihan Station transportation hub have been delayed by its
own set of problems, everything from financing to concerns over that project's
size and scope. It's been around 16 years since Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
first proposed the transformation of the McKim, Meade and White designed
building at 421 Eighth Ave.
into a new, more grand Penn Station than the current underground structure
serving as the nation's busiest transit center. After years of project inertia
and what appeared to be a sense of dormancy at the site, in 2006, New York State quasi-governmental agency Empire
State Development Corporation arrived at an increasingly clear project
blueprint for the structure including cost estimates of around $14 billion. In
2007, ESDC bought the Farley Post Office building, designed by the same
builders as the original Penn Station that had been torn down beginning in
1963, from the Postal Service for $230 million. Of that amount, the Port
Authority contributed $140 million according to the Regional Planning
By September 2008, Governor David Patterson was calling
for the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey to take over the Moynihan Station project. In
March 2009, New York Senator Charles Schumer called on the Port to contribute
at least $1 billion to the Moynihan transit hub.
The RPA spokesperson says giving PA more control at
Monyhan would be logical since "it's a transportation project with regional
benefits," which is the business Port Authority is in.