Monday, June 15, 2009
Bloomberg fiddles with vanity projects while the rest of NYC burns
From the NY Observer:
In the universe of the city budget, cuts are everywhere.
Nowhere was this more apparent than the city’s capital budget, the decade-long plan that pays for new parks, schools, firehouses, infrastructure and economic development with $47 billion in city funds. The Bloomberg administration is proposing to shrink its capital spending by about $8 billion from an earlier version unveiled last fall, an act that, if approved by the City Council this month, will inspire a wave of cuts for new projects citywide.
But, at least in terms of economic development, two legacy real estate projects that have long been the focus of city officials—the redevelopment of Coney Island and of Willets Point in Queens—have escaped the knife entirely (and in the case of Willets Point, slightly more money was added).
This prioritization of the large and high profile offers a glimpse into the Bloomberg administration’s unabashed fervency regarding mega-development, an approach that has inspired no shortage of critics. While substantial development on these projects is likely many years off and ultimate success is hardly a given, officials argue that Coney and Willets deserve to be at the top of the list because of their potentially transformative effects in two underdeveloped areas.
In all, the city lists about $133 million in its capital budget for Coney Island and $424 million for Willets Point, which is by far the largest single economic development initiative. The entire 10-year budget calls for about $1 billion to go toward economic development over the next 10 years.
Photo from the Epoch Times