Tons of news today about the New York Jets stadium plan, one day after the New York city council approved rezoning for the Hudson Yards district that would surround it:
A new poll of New Yorkers show that they’re still overwhelmingly opposed to the stadium, 58-34%; a quarter of respondents said the issue would make them less likely to vote for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in this year’s mayoral election. The poll also found that 66% of city residents say they’d travel to games by mass transit, and 15% by car (the remaining 19%, presumably, would use their personal jetpacks); given that the bulk of Jets ticket buyers don’t even live in the city, this makes it extremely dubious that the team could hit its promised target of 70% mass-transit usage.
Councilmember Christine Quinn, a stadium opponent, told the New York Times that the council is investigating the legality of the mayor’s reported plan to siphon off payments from developers that would otherwise go to the city’s general fund, without getting council approval.
The Jets and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are considering binding arbitration to determine how much the team would pay the public for the rights to build atop the MTA’s West Side rail yards. No word on what ever happened to those independent appraisers we were promised last summer.
About that Hudson Yards rezoning vote, meanwhile, while council speaker Giff Miller was quick to claim that “not a dime goes to a stadium – that isn’t in the best interests of the city,” it could still cost taxpayers plenty. Economic development expert James Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute writes in a Daily News op-ed that the tax breaks for developers in the Hudson Yards plan could end up costing as much as all current city tax breaks combined. “The Donald Trumps of the future not only won’t have to pay their fair share of property taxes, but will be given a 30-year guarantee against property tax rate increases,” writes Parrott. “That will force homeowners and other landlords to shoulder part of the developers’ burden.”
Also, though I can’t find it online (note: Brian Hatch found it), the print edition of today’s New York Newsday has an editorial pointing out that the Hudson Yards plan includes a $1.7 billion subway line running to the new stadium, while other longstanding transit projects are getting cut from the MTA budget. (Newsday calls this “not acceptable.”) Opportunity cost, thy name is Bloomberg…