NYS 2 Pay 4 FT

It was always obvious that Gov. Pataki wanted the World Trade Center debacle resolved more than Gov. Corzine ever did. Well, how much more?

$250 million more.

According to the framework agreement signed April 26, and obtained by The Real Estate through the Freedom of Information Law, the $250 million subsidy that will go towards building the Freedom Tower will come from the bi-state transportation agency’s “commitment to the state of New York under the Port Authority’s Regional Transportation Program.” (Download full document in PDF here.)

See, the Port Authority, which is about the only agency out there wealthy enough to spend money on things outside its operations, sets aside “discretionary funds”–colloquially known as “pork”–every once in a while that can be used at the discretion of each governor. The money that is going towards the Freedom Tower, according to spokesman Steve Coleman, came from the $500 million divied up after the March 2001 toll increase. New Jersey used its half to buy some new bi-level train cars for New Jersey Transit. Pataki is using his to subsidize the building of the Freedom Tower. (The rest of the tower’s $2.1 billion cost is supposed to come from bonds that will be paid off by rents, but we will learn more once the whole deal finally closes in September.)

Matthew Schuerman

NYS 2 Pay 4 FT