Friday, February 13, 2009

It's official: D'Amato lobbyied feds for AY stimulus funds; state list to emerge in a few weeks

The New York Observer's Eliot Brown has the scoop:
Now, according to a federal disclosure report filed by former Senator Alfonse D’Amato’s lobbying firm, Park Strategies, stimulus money is very much on Mr. Ratner’s mind. The disclosure form, filed last month, lists Forest City Ratner–related lobbying issues as: “funding for real estate-linked transportation projects; real estate project infrastructure development; stimulus spending."

Brown notes that the project does not appear yet on any federal or state list and that a prioritized list of Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects should appear in a few weeks.

Political bind

Brown observes:
Should the project turn out to be eligible to get money, it would require a major political step by Mr. Paterson to allocate the relatively scarce stimulus money. The project has always been a political hornet’s nest, and to date, neither Mr. Paterson nor his predecessor Eliot Spitzer have had to take any overt, highly public steps in support of it. Given that there are far more projects than there is stimulus funding, it's safe to say that money to Atlantic Yards would come at the expense of some other project in the area. If eligible, the question then becomes whether or not Bruce Ratner, Al D'Amato, supportive politicians and groups could push Atlantic Yards toward the top of the stack at the same time that other politicans are fighting for projects of their own favor.

Schumer, Paterson in the dark

The article captures a Keystone Kops-like exchange not quite conveyed in previous Reuters coverage:
Reporter: There's been a lot of chatter on the blogs about whether Atlantic Yards is a candidate for this infrastructure spending. Is it? Will it receive...

Mr. Schumer: I don't know enough details to answer that. Governor?

Mr. Paterson: I have no idea. I thought that Schumer knew.

Mr. Schumer: I thought you knew.

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