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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Daily News op-ed: beware the costs of MTA upgrades to serve Belmont arena (where's Cuomo?)

The Daily News has shown openness to voices critical of the planned Amazon development and now the Belmont arena (but not Atlantic Yards), so it's interesting to see Stop the MTA's Belmont boondoggle: It's the last thing the cash-strapped transit agency should be doing, from Tammie Williams, a board member of the Belmont Park Community Coalition and the most vocal critic of that planned new home for the Islanders.

She writes:
Even as commuter rail and straphangers are bracing for more pain, there is a quiet boondoggle in the offing at Belmont Racetrack, where the state is considering a $300 million giveaway to billionaires like Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, who need a new train station as part of a plan to ram a hockey area and a shopping mall down the collective throats of Elmont, Floral Park and Southeast Queens.
If you thought our state was being short-sighted with Amazon in Long Island City, come to Belmont.
Empire State Development Corp. is telling the public the upgrades needed to accommodate a new arena can be handled for a mere $30 million, which is nothing more than a fig leaf that will have to give way to a full-blown train station needed to make the project viable at a cost to the MTA of more than $300 million. It's typical of ESDC, which has been cagey at best, and typically secretive at worst.
Whether the project will "generate new, intolerable car and truck traffic" is a question that surely will be answered in the negative during the environmental review.

With Atlantic Yards, it should be remembered, the burdens were far less than feared (or disclosed), in part because they didn't build four towers with the arena, as promised, and also because New Jersey fans of the Nets fell away and decided not to drive to Brooklyn.

But Williams raises big questions about that open-ended cost of LIRR service, as I did previously, for CityLab, and as Aaron Gordon did in the Village Voice. The op-ed does not mention the suspiciously low lease rate for rental land, as I noted.

And while it criticizes the MTA, it leaves out the one elected official who holds the keys: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


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