Governor Pataki–who, last we heard, was in Puerto Rico–announced this evening that the Senate Finance Committee had approved an important revenue stream for the much-vaunted rail link from JFK to Lower Manhattan: the left-over Sept. 11 tax credits. This could be a big deal—the $6 billion connection, which would run on LIRR tracks and under the East River through a new tunnel, has only about one-sixth of its funding secure. Not that everyone wants this one-seater funded: transit advocates would rather see money spent elsewhere (like on Second Avenue, say).
According to Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for the Governor, the committee vote today did not answer the crucial question: the exchange rate. As tax credits to businesses in Lower Manhattan adding employees and depreciating their equipment, they would be worth $2 billion, but a congressional committee earlier this year determined that they would convert to $727 million if used for other purposes. Stay tuned….