Mayor Bloomberg pushed back against a pet initiative of Senator Schumer’s today, saying the city “would never agree” to the Port Authority taking over the troubled Moynihan Station project.
Since March, Senator Schumer has been an outspoken proponent of moving the project under the purview of the Port Authority, saying the bi-state agency has the experience and the capability to complete the long-stalled project. Governor Paterson has supported the idea and said the move is likely, though some legislators are against it.
This morning Mr. Schumer tried to push the idea further, saying at a Crain’s New York breakfast that the state’s development agency, which currently has authority over the project, “is not capable of being a major development agency here.”
Shortly after, responding to questions from reporters, Mayor Bloomberg said, effectively, thanks but no thanks.
“We certainly would never agree to the Port Authority being in charge of it because they can’t get done what they have to do downtown and the Port Authority’s first job has to be downtown and I don’t see how they could satisfy us at this point in time that they can take on that and do everything else,” he said, according to a transcript.
Rather, the mayor encouraged Mr. Schumer to round up funds in Washington for the project.
“I appreciate all of the senator’s views on Moynihan Station and his part of the job is to bring us the money,” he said.
In speaking to the audience of business leaders this morning, Mr. Schumer also called on the city to concentrate on building up the area around Penn Station before it concentrates on the far West Side. Such an action would mean a reversal for the city, which has boosted the Midtown West area as the city’s next office frontier, in part because it was to be the center of the Olympic Games had New York won its bid.
Of course, if the city followed Mr. Schumer’s advice, it would likely have to absorb substantial amounts of debt out of its general fund, as the mayor pushed through a tax policy plan that relies on a major boost in real estate values on the far West Side in order to borrow more than $3 billion for infrastructure.
Should the area not develop, the debt payments would come straight out of city coffers, as opposed to from the added tax revenues that were expected.
Update 4:55 p.m.
Update 5:35 p.m.
Schumer spokesman Josh Vlasto sent out this statement:
While part of a senator’s role is to deliver money for New York–and Senator Schumer helped secure over $100 million for Moynihan Station and billions of dollars to rebuild Ground Zero–it is equally important for a responsible senator to watchdog how that money is spent. As the mayor well knows from his frequent, informative and welcome forays to Washington DC to discuss federal policy matters, there is a natural interaction between federal and local policy.