Is Barclays a Fare Jumper When It Comes to Transportation Funding?

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

The Atlantic Yards certainly knows how to get someone else to pick up the tab. It’s like a friend who always manages to forget his wallet when going out to dinner, or the pal who neglects to pony up her share of the group gift you all went in on together.

First, the project scored $305 million in state and city subsidies via the Empire State Development Corporation, then the arena protested a tax assessment for taxes it didn’t even have to pay (an oversight, it claimed), and now it’s literally getting a free ride on the existing transportation infrastructure—an infrastructure that is ferrying a lot of visitors and cash to Barclays, but that Ratner doesn’t want to help finance.

Making Barclays and future developments pay their share for increased transportation needs is among the recommendations of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s latest report “Brooklyn gateway transportation vision. ” As Capital New York notes, the report is basically a wish list of policy changes and funding proposals for a borough with a rapidly growing population. A rapidly growing population that is putting an increasing amount strain on aging transportation infrastructure will, inevitably, require more and more repairs and overhauls as time goes by.

So what is main problem with implementing the transportation vision? Money. The problem is always money. Which is where innovations like congestion pricing and residential parking permits might come in handy. Or getting the developer of a huge, money-hauling arena that is putting a significant strain on the local transportation infrastructure to help shoulder the costs.

Among the report’s other suggestions (you can read the entire report here) is that Forest City Ratner pay for the subway fares for Barclays Center patrons, like it promised to. And fund a New Jersey to Fulton Ferry ferry service.

We won’t hold our breath for those initiatives (we’re still waiting on the housing), but maybe some of the other recommendations will actually materialize, like more secure bike parking at Barclays Center or a transit impact fee that developments will be required to pay in support of mass transit.
kvelsey@observer.com