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Links roundup

November 10, 2011

Smoking will soon be banned on Metro North and LIRR outdoor platforms.

  • The Thruway Authority and the Battery Park City Authority have been restructured, resulting in the elimination of 23 jobs in total. While there aren’t many details about the Thruway’s restructuring, the job cuts at Battery Park City are expected to save about $500,000. [Capital Tonight]
  • Hal Peterson thinks Governor Cuomo needs to pay more attention to public authorities: “Last July, the ABO… released an ‘Annual Report on Public Authorities in New York State.’ The governor has not acknowledged receipt of the report. While not required to (for some inconceivable reason), he should. To do less is extremely inconsiderate of the work and effort of the Authorities Budget Office. Their findings are real. The weakness cited in the enforcement of law can no longer be tolerated.” [LI Herald]
  • Standard & Poor’s lowered its ratings on the Erie County IDA’s outstanding revenue bonds issued for Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, reflecting “a sharply weakened financial position, highlighted by weak debt service coverage and very low cash balances.” [PR Newswire]
  • So much for board member independence: it’s being reported that Mayor Bloomberg will ultimately pick the winner of the competition to design a high-tech graduate school in New York City (with generous subsidies, of course), even though the city’s Economic Development Corporation is supposed to “lead a committee to review proposals and select the developer.” [NYT]
  • LIPA apparently pays contractors $660 to conduct energy audits, even though NYSERDA only pays $235 for similar services. “The problem appears to be that LIPA measures its performance in the efficiency and renewables arena by how much money it spends and not by actual results.” [Suffolk County LIPA Oversight Committee]
  • Why are infrastructure costs so much higher in New York than everywhere else? “The main culprits… are ‘New York’s higher regulation costs, over-conservative labor laws and financing via bonds, which lead to longer-term debt plans.’” [2nd Ave. Sagas] [The Atlantic]
  • The MTA’s smoking ban on Metro North and LIRR outdoor platforms goes into effect on Sunday, but there will be something of a grace period while the MTA conducts a public education campaign. [MTA Press Release]
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