Pataki Says Less is More

Gov. Pataki had a few choice words for Shelly Silver this afternoon, opening his statement on the Moynihan rejection with a quote from the real Moynihan: “The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.”

He also, for the first time, brings up the burning question that has lurked behind this project since trouble started brewing earlier this year: Would going ahead with the partial Moynihan plan now have put the state and city government in a better negotiating position vis-a-vis tax breaks for Madison Square Garden and the contribution for a redeveloped Pennsylvania Station–than it would be if it were to wait until everything came together before breaking ground?

Pataki says yes: “New Yorkers and visitors from around the world should not be held hostage to an effort to finance a new Madison Square Garden on the backs of taxpayers.”

Full statement after the jump.

-Matthew Schuerman

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI

“‘The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.’ Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1976.

“Today thirty years later, Speaker Silver has remarkably proven those words true. Two weeks after postponing, one week after failing to show-up, today the Speaker cast a vote to block the Moynihan Station Project from moving forward. Speaker Silver has single-handily prevented the most important civic and transportation project in the nation today from proceeding. The Moynihan Station project was a decade in the making with widespread support including that of two presidents, four past and present senators, two mayors and the community.

“A tremendous amount of cooperative efforts from the city, state and federal governments were expended to piece together the funding, the agreements, the environmental review process, and the glorious designs to create what was to become a station worthy of Senator Moynihan’s name. It is truly infuriating to now have to consider those efforts to be fruitless.

“An approval today to build Moynihan Station would have in no way precluded or compromised a larger proposal in the future. New Yorkers and visitors from around the world should not be held hostage to an effort to finance a new Madison Square Garden on the backs of taxpayers.

“The only question that should remain after a decade of planning is that on the minds of those traveling through the most heavily used transportation facility in the North East — why do they continue to be forced through overcrowded dingy corridors. And today we have the answer. I can only expect that all New Yorkers will share my deep disappointment.”