Down With Doctoroff, Up With the 7 Train?

And another one bites the dust: Deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff's plan to buy development rights to the MTA's West Side rail yards—the erstwhile site of the erstwhile New York Jets stadium—died an ignominious death yesterday, when the city gave up on trying to get the MTA to accept its $300 million bid for a parcel that had been appraised at $1.2 billion. And despite earlier Bloombergian saber-rattling that City Hall would scuttle the planned city-funded #7 train extension—west to 11th Avenue and south to 34th Street—if the land sale didn't go through, the mayor says he'll move forward with spending $2 billion in city cash on that project. He even agreed to kick in an extra $100 million if there are cost overruns.

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Why stop there?

Remember, of course, that the MTA is the agency that brought us the never-built Second Avenue subway and the $400,000-a-foot Queens Connector. If the cost overruns can be kept to a mere five percent, that'd be a new record for frugality. And if the price tag does skyrocket, "it's anybody's guess" who'll be left holding the bag, says city transit expert Joe Rappaport. Precedent indicates that the extra bills would ultimately land in the lap of the MTA—and its riders.

Could a few extra blocks west on the #7 line be worth $2 billion-plus?

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