But the bills came due, bankruptcy loomed, President Gerald R. Ford threatened to leave the city in the lurch and the place turned practical. Today’s New Yorkers want to know what something costs and who will pay. Turning landfill into a park, or building a new basketball arena and apartment-retail complex in Brooklyn if private dollars foot a healthy part of the bill — fine. Risking citywide gridlock to impress the world by playing host to the Olympics? Not so fine.
First, how many New Yorkers have endorsed the project? There's been no official vote. The recent poll touting 60% public support was deeply flawed. And the three local community boards closest to the project site have either opposed the project or raised serious questions about it.
More importantly, if we truly were practical, then we'd try to tote up what something costs and who will pay.
We don't have an accurate sense of the net new tax revenues. And we don't know how much Atlantic Yards would cost the public. That information has been elusive and hidden. But we do know we're risking costly gridlock in Brooklyn and beyond, as transportation engineer Brian Ketcham points out.