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Links roundup—New York and beyond edition (with flooded subways and evolving subsidy policies)

November 21, 2011

New York City's future flooded subways.

  • A new climate change report commissioned by NYSERDA spells out some dire predictions for the MTA’s flood-prone infrastructure. [Transportation Nation]
  • “So public authorities, by design, are almost entirely insulated from the public. That’s why New York State has so many of them. Politicians can—and do—bash them, but can’t make them change toll or fare policy. The authorities have to absorb the invective unleashed on them by politicians and the public, but, in the end, don’t have to do what they say.” [Staten Island Advance Editorial]
  • The New York Court of Appeals upheld public authority economic development subsidies. [Public Authorities Blog] [TU Capitol Confidential Blog] [NY Daily News]
  • Is Governor Cuomo channeling Robert Moses? “You know what I say, ‘Build the Bridge. Build the Bridge,’” he incanted during a recent speech in Colonie. “I don’t want to hear why we can’t. I don’t want to hear about the problems. If that was the attitude, this state would never be this state.” Meanwhile, the new Tappan Zee Bridge will only cost $6 billion. [LoHud]
  • New York City’s subsidy policy is evolving: “In the past, the city would routinely sweeten deals for developers or have projects die, because bidders were allowed to negotiate terms after being selected and praised at a press conference. No more.” [Atlantic Yards Report]

Beyond New York

  • The board structure of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will soon be changing. The plan gives the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of Washington D.C. the authority to remove appointed members at any time, a power that the President of the United States, who appoints three board members, has always had. The number of board members will also be increased from 13 to 17, with Virginia getting increased representation. [Transportation Nation]
  • In Massachusetts, the entire board of the Chelsea Housing Authority resigned and the authority is being placed under receivership after it was revealed that the director was receiving a $360,000 salary when it was officially listed as $160,000. [Chelsea Record] [Eagle Tribune]
  • A task force report on Baltimore’s use of tax breaks and other economic development subsidies is calling for more transparency, clearer goals, and enhanced accountability. [Baltimore Brew]
  • An audit of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found problems with over-budget projects, poor planning and risk analysis, and project controls. [Huff Post] [SF Examiner]
  • Also in California, the Orange County Transportation Authority board adopted a new revolving door policy. Although state law prohibits elected officials from lobbying former colleagues for a year, it doesn’t apply to appointed members on quasi-public boards. [Voice of OC]
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