Should Governor Paterson indeed move the Moynihan Station project under the control of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as he said he wants to do, at least two members of the State Assembly are poised to resist the action: Richard Gottfried, the district’s representative, and Richard Brodsky, the chairman of the committee that oversees public authorities.
“It’s a New York project; it ought to be run by a New York agency,” Mr. Brodsky said. “As a bi-state authority, they [the Port Authority] have been unresponsive, remote and immune to reform.”
Moving Moynihan from the state-controlled Empire State Development Corporation to the Port Authority would remove the Legislature from any direct control over the project, taking away its ability to pass laws about the plan or have approval power via the Public Authorities Control Board. (The PACB blocked the project from moving forward in a phased plan at the end of the Pataki administration.)
This, Mr. Gottfried said, is a concern. “It is difficult or impossible for the general public or the Legislature or the City Council to have any effective oversight or input with the Port Authority,” he said. “Certainly, for many decades, it was known as an imperial, almost foreign power.”
Many, including Senator Charles Schumer, have pushed for the move as the Port Authority has deep financial pockets, an engineering staff and experience building regional transportation projects.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, through spokesman Dan Weiller, did not stake out a strong position either way about the move, though made clear his thoughts that the World Trade Center should remain the priority for the agency.
“The speaker said that he is supportive of moving forward on Moynihan Station, but he also noted that we’re approaching seven years since 9/11,” Mr. Weiller said. “The Port Authority is the key player at the World Trade Center site, and that really needs to be their number-one focus.”
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