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February 5, 2009

ESDC CEO: focus on infrastructure projects

Atlantic Yards Report

Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) CEO Marisa Lago, in a recent video interview posted on the Crain's New York Business web site, was recently asked what the city and federal governments should do to help New York business.

Her answer: "We have to inject an element of realism in today's market. We have to be smart about where we continue to invest. But the important thing is: we do need and will be continuing to invest."

Back to basics

"In a time like this, what do you focus on?" she asked rhetorically. "You get back to basics. And the basics are infrastructure projects. As so you can see through the state submission for the [federal] stimulus bill, we're focusing where we can put dollars today that will both put people to work today but also just lay that groundwork that, when this economic crisis turns around, and it will at some point, we will be prepared with the infrastructure that will allow the private sector then to come and continue with development."

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Infrastructure first. The "public realm." (I suppose she means things like the Second Avenue Subway.)

Some of the Atlantic Yards project would certainly be infrastructure, but it's not "shovel-ready," as the ESDC has acknowledged. And, more importantly, rather than set up a process to enhance infrastructure to lure the private sector, Atlantic Yards was a package deal, and one developer had the inside track.

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Posted by eric at February 5, 2009 11:09 AM