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A Plan Hidden From the Public Smells Rotten

That’s the conclusion of a remarkable series of Daily News editorials today denouncing the financing and lack of transparency in the Governor’s proposal for Penn Station. Despite the proposal’s many flaws and mounting opposition, the plan is expected to be approved Thursday by Empire State Development (ESD).

The paper filled its editorial page with three separate articles: Penn problem 1 cites New School researchers, the City Independent Budget Office, and Midtown’s elected officials all questioning the real estate deal that is supposed to pay for station improvements.

Rendering of Penn Station Redevelopment Project for Midtown Manhattan

“We wondered, ‘as a real estate deal, could it work?’ the editorial says. “The answer is no… ESD must vote no.”

Penn problem 2 says it is “extremely dumb for Amtrak to plow under a whole city block south of Penn for a $12 billion, eight-track dead-end terminal for the new tunnel.”

Penn problem 3 denounces the plan as “maddeningly opaque.” “The City Independent Budget Office couldn’t even crunch any public numbers, because there are none.“

The community advisory committee ESD created “does everything in secret, keeping out the community.” The editorial continues, “the agendas, the presentations, the discussions, all of it is sealed. While the public is excluded, the developer that will benefit greatly is represented.”

Another closed community advisory committee is scheduled this week shortly before the ESD vote.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, a plan hidden from the public smells rotten,” The Daily News concludes.

Please read the editorials in their entirety. This is the media coverage and scrutiny this plan demands. What is still lacking is any widespread outrage that the State is threatening to level vibrant blocks of midtown Manhattan and overriding the City’s own zoning and land use proposals. The blocks contain homes, jobs, community programs, and several landmark quality buildings.

Tell Empire State Development (ESD) you agree with The Daily News.
ESD should vote no on the Penn proposal.

ESD email: Hope.Knight@esd.ny.gov
Empire State Development, President & CEO

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