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Cuomo's State of the State: salute to Belmont arena; nudge to MSG (?); big plans for Red Hook

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address yesterday (video below) was light on governmental and ethics reforms, according to Ben Max of Gotham Gazette. Below, three development-related issues.

The Belmont arena

He spoke regarding the new Islanders arena, starting at 1:28:25:
In 2018, as part of our $6.6 billion LIRR transformation plan, we’ll finish the double track on the Ronkonkoma Line and we will finish it 16 months ahead of schedule and we will then--and we will then begin construction of the third track along the main line, which carries 40 percent of the LIRR riders. We are also rebuilding 39 stations. All together 100 projects which will transform the Long Island Railroad and transform the quality of life on Long Island finally, thanks to you. We also had really good news several weeks ago when it was announced that the New York Islanders are moving back home to Long Island. And they are going to build a $1 billion hockey stadium at Belmont Racetrack. That’s how much they believe in Long Island. We have with us the owners of the Islanders, Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky. Could you please stand? Let’s give them a round of applause for believing in New York. We also have defenseman Calvin De Haan and left-wing Nikolay Kulemin. Stand up and let’s give them a round of applause and thank you for being here. Welcome back to Long Island.
Note that, as I tweeted skeptically, there was no mention that they'd pay the equivalent of $40 million upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years to build the new arena and the larger project. Nor is there mention of the Long Island Rail Road investment needed to ensure regular train service. They "believe" in a good deal, too.



Renovating Penn and moving MSG?

At 1:04:05, Cuomo described plans for Penn Station, which implies moving Madison Square Garden (as I wrote for The Bridge):
Penn Station is especially vulnerable. The most heavily traveled transit hub in the hemisphere. More people go through Penn Station every year than go through Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports combined. On top of the volume, the architecture and configuration of Penn is substandard. I call it the seven levels of catacombs. They don’t like when I say that, but it’s true. I have directed the ESD, the MTA, and the Port Authority to work on a redevelopment plan with the neighboring private building owners so that we can restructure and rebuild Penn Station. They are cooperative and they understand our needs and they support our goal. We are now constructing a new Penn Station Farley Moynihan Train Hall right across the street. As that becomes operational, that will give us a flexibility to move operations from the old Penn to the new Farley. So we’re going to be coordinating with Amtrak, federal government, city officials to accelerate this comprehensive redevelopment project, which will improve the operation, the aesthetics, and the security systems in Penn. The threat of terrorism is real. I take it very seriously as one of my prime responsibilities as Governor of this state. There is no time for politics, bureaucracy, or delay. The State has the power of eminent domain for just such a purpose. We must make Penn better. We must make it safer. We must coordinate with all our partners, but we must do it now. There is no time for politics. No time for delay. We must fix Penn and we must fix Penn now, and we will.
A huge change in Red Hook

At 1:26:38, Cuomo not only defended the questionable (as per Ben Kabak) Air Train to LaGuardia Airport (as opposed to extending the subway) but suggested a major subway expansion:
We must continue to attract and create the jobs of tomorrow. And we must do it today. Every president has told us the same thing: it’s about improving our infrastructure. The New York difference is we don’t promise it, or propose it or talk about it – we do it. Good government is about action. We must continue to exercise our New York muscle and imagination. The New York spirit that built the tallest buildings and the longest bridges that defy gravity, pessimism, and the naysayers. We have proven we can do it and do it well. Now we must do more of it. We must accelerate the modernization of our airports in New York City and all across upstate. We must accelerate our Air Train to LaGuardia--every major city in the world has a train to the plane. We must open our transportation deserts and have the Port Authority and the MTA consider relocating the Red Hook Marine Terminal and explore whether Red Hook has enough transportation alternatives, or if they should study the possibility of a new subway line to stimulate Red Hook’s community-based development the way we did on the west side of Manhattan and the east side line. We should continue to pursue a tunnel from Long Island to Westchester or Connecticut. DOT has determined it’s feasible; it would be under water, it would be invisible, it would reduce traffic on the impossibly congested Long Island Expressway and would offer significant potential private investment. We will also accelerate the Long Island Railroad modernization, it’s long overdue but it’s critical to the economy.
As I wrote (and Ross Barkan seconded), the Triboro line expansion, on existing track, would be much cheaper. Also, as The Bridge noted, climate change in a waterfront neighborhood cautions against such (in Cuomo's words) "community-based development."

A New York Times article, Subway Stop and Housing for Red Hook Are Among Cuomo Proposals, suggested that building a subway tunnel to Red Hook from Manhattan reflects not just the AECOM plan to extend the 1 train but also a less publicized plan by Related Companies to extend the R train.

Writes Charles Bagli:
The estimated $2.9 billion cost of the subway extension could be paid through the sale of land and the development of 45,000 apartments, one-third of which would be subsidized for low- and moderate-income tenants, under Related’s plan. 
Under this so-called public-private partnership, a Related-led consortium would design, manage, construct and guarantee the subway. New development plans would emerge from discussions between developers, community groups and city officials.
Then again, Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed the BQX streetcar to connect Red Hook and, as Crain's New York Business reported, a mayoral spokeswoman was in wait-and-see mode regarding subway plans.

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