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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.
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?