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February 13, 2009

Senate aims for swift vote on stimulus plan: Schumer

By Joan Gralla

Ratner-Schumer.jpg Though he is an ardent supporter of Bruce Ratner's ailing Atlantic Yards arena and highrise megaproject, Senator Charles Schumer hedges in his comments to a reporter on whether or not the project qualifies federal bailout funds:

The U.S. Senate plans to debate the compromise economic stimulus bill on Thursday night and vote any time from midnight to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters on a telephone conference call.

Schumer, joined by fellow Democrat Governor David Paterson, outlined how much New York state and New York City stand to get from the $789 billion bill negotiated between the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Cautioning that some figures were preliminary, Schumer estimated the state would get $1 billion to modernize highways and $1.3 billion for mass transit upgrades. But the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs New York City's buses, subway and commuter rails, cannot use any extra dollars it gets to avoid steep fare and toll hikes.

A high-speed rail link to Buffalo might be funded. But Schumer said he did not know if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Atlantic Yards Brooklyn development would qualify. This apartment-office project, throttled by the credit crisis, includes an arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team.

[Emphasis added.]


Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn comments:

Of course the Atlantic Yards project is not the MTA's project it is Forest City Ratner's project. Unclear if that is the reporter's error or the Senator's. Presumably the MTA will use its stimulus funds for MTA projects.

Furthermore, our reading of the latest versions of the bill make it pretty clear that Atlantic Yards will not be eligible for stimilus funds for various reasons, including that the project is not "shovel ready" by any stretch of the imagination. And the bill is not supposed to supply funds to bail out a private developer and relieve him of his commitments.

NoLandGrab: Interesting — either Schumer doesn't want to deliver the bad news to Bruce yet, or he's still trying to figure out how to make his developer pal happy.

[Photo: Ratner and Schumer at press conference announcing the purchase of the NJ Nets in 2004.]

Posted by lumi at February 13, 2009 5:26 AM