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April 22, 2009

Former Port Authority head warns about deferring infrastructure decisions to private entities (and what about AY?)

Atlantic Yards Report

Last night's panel discussion at the Municipal Art Society, The City in the Age of Obama, was notably thought-provoking, applying some reasonable skepticism to the daunting challenges facing the region.

Anthony Shorris, director of the NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy, and former executive director of the Port Authority of NY/NJ, had the most resonant lines, warning that questions of infrastructure face major and various roadblocks.
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He then made comments that, while not directly about Atlantic Yards, certainly had some resonance, especially given Forest City Enterprises' claim that "we control the pace" even as as the developer is reportedly looking to build a less expensive replacement railyard than it promised.

"The fourth challenge that requires rethinking... is the boundary between public and private," Shorris said. "Increasingly we've deferred much of the [infrastructure] decisionmaking to the private sector"--his tone turned sardonic--"and we know by definition the public sector is incompetent and corrupt, unable to make decisions wisely; the only people who can make decisions wisely are clearly bankers."

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Posted by lumi at April 22, 2009 6:01 AM