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Real Decisions on Penn Kicked Down the Track

Yesterday’s Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) vote was not a final approval of the Governor’s Penn Station plan, nor the end of efforts to defeat it.

The PACB was expected to vote on the financial aspects of the General Project Plan for Penn. Instead, the PACB only approved a non-binding agreement on how the City and State would divvy up unknown revenues, from uncertain developments, to pay for unknown transit improvements of unknown costs.

As everyone from the State Comptroller, to Richard Ravitch, to the City’s Independent Budget Office noted, the State has never revealed enough financial information to determine if the plan makes sense– or if taxpayers will be stuck with an enormous bill.

The Comptroller asked the PACB to hold off until they could know what they were voting on. Instead, they voted on what Senator Leroy Comrie called “a first step towards building a framework for a multi-decade redevelopment plan.” Unlike every other project on yesterday’s PACB agenda, this one had no dollar figures.

“Today’s vote is not the final say on this massive undertaking,” Comrie said, adding that he wanted to see “full federal approvals and fair funding from the federal government and New Jersey” before future votes on above-ground buildings.

Today’s Daily News Editorial called this a “speed bump” in the Governor’s plan.

Thanks to all of you who answered our calls to let Albany know there is widespread opposition to the plan. It was not in vain. And we will be calling on you again.

Here are some of the many other groups and individuals who oppose the plan, or asked for a halt until there were answers–not just about financing, but also about the modest transit improvements announced, and why the neighborhood around Penn Station should be sacrificed when there are other ways to pay for meaningful improvements in a much better- station.

Citizens Budget Commission, Rethink Penn Station NYC, Reinvent Albany, Trains Before Towers, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Manhattan Community Boards 4 and 5, Empire State Coalition, Common Cause, New York Public Interest Research Group, League of Women Voters, The City Club of New York, Untapped New York, Take Back NYC, Penn Area Residents Committee, Save Chelsea, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, Hell’s Kitchen Block Association, Penn South Co-Op.

Additionally, every elected official from the Penn Station area asked for more information. The Daily News and New York Post opposed the plan. Architecture critics Justin Davidson, Michael Kimmelman, and Paul Goldberger challenged it.

The Governor needs to respect that New Yorkers deserve answers.

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