With a big summit Thursday to help sort out the future of the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority has won a round of support from numerous large transportation advocacy groups.
In a pair of letters, the Regional Plan Association, the Fiscal Policy Institute, the New York chapter of the American Planning Association, and Transportation Alternatives urged Mayor Bloomberg and the governors of New York and New Jersey (each of whom is expected at the summit) not to spend public money on commercial office space.
“With limited funds for redevelopment, the financial resources of the Port Authority should be devoted to restoring the public infrastructure of the site,” the Regional Plan Association wrote in its letter. “With two large towers with more than 5 million square feet of office space under construction in an uncertain market, the risks of any additional office development should be borne by the private sector.”
Developer Larry Silverstein wants to get the Port Authority to back the financing of two of his towers, placing blame on the agency and its delays for his inability to build. The Port Authority has refused, saying the cost of two towers is too substantial.
But even if the Port Authority were willing, it would need to find money somewhere for the added expense in its 10-year capital plan (just how much is debatable), either by cutting projects and/or raising tolls further, a prospect that seems to be the main concern of the advocacy groups.