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Links roundup—extended edition

January 2, 2012

The “house” at 58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn is actually a disguised subway ventilator and emergency exit. (Click image for source.)

IDAs & LDCs

  • The St. Lawrence County economic enhancement committee wants the county’s IDA to increase marketing and take on more projects. [Watertown Daily Times]
  • Officials at the Onondaga County IDA are somewhat hesitant to issue bonds for a business park project because without a tenant for the park, the IDA would be reliant on county appropriations to pay the debt service. [Post-Standard]
  • The ABO is seeking to terminate the Rotterdam IDA under a section of the General Municipal Law that requires IDAs to cease operations if they no longer hold any outstanding bonds or notes. [Spotlight News]
  • The Catskill Watershed Corporation, a public authority LDC, has established a program to provide grants for the removal of flood debris in stream channels and floodplains in the Catskill-Delaware Watershed. [DelCounty.com]
  • “The state attorney general’s initial review of local development corporations uncovered the potential for self-dealing, nepotism, improper loans and exorbitant expenses at some.” [Times Union]
  • Non-public authority LDCs, like the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, are also being investigated. [NY Post] [Amsterdam News]

MTA

  • In an effort to decrease unnecessary services, the MTA reduced subway service on “minor holidays,” including the Friday after Thanksgiving, the four weekdays after Christmas, and other low-ridership days. [NYT]
  • The MTA is also experimenting with weeknight work-related line shutdowns. [Transportation Nation]
  • Twenty-two people who were stranded on an A train during a snow storm last year without heat, food, or water, are suing the MTA. [Transportation Nation] [NY Post]
  • A private transportation company took over the MTA’s Long Island Bus service. [Long Island Press]
  • Metro-North officials have agreed to a nine-point riders’ bill of rights that guarantees cleanliness, a safe and reliable ride, and accurate, timely updates. [NY Post]
  • The “house” at 58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn is actually a disguised subway ventilator and emergency exit. [BLDG BLOG]
  • The top-ten viral subway videos of 2011, from shoe lickers to spaghetti fights. [Gothamist]
  • More viral subway videos: the honorable mentions list. [Gothamist]

Port Authority

  • Mayor Bloomberg finally admitted that the World Trade Center museum won’t open on time due to an ongoing financial dispute between the Port Authority and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation. [NYT]
  • A retired Port Authority police officer filed a class action suit against the authority for revoking retirees’ rights to free tolls for life. [Courthouse News Service]

Public authority debt

  • In 2011, a quarter of the state’s income tax revenue was set aside for debt service on public authority bonds. The state budget office, moreover, predicts that the volume of these Personal Income Tax (PIT) bonds will rise from about $17 billion in 2009-2010 to nearly $27 billion in 2013-2014. [New York World]
  • Public money for public purposes: toward the end of plutocracy and the triumph of democracy. [Naked Capitalism]

Miscellaneous authorities

  • ECHDC. As part of Buffalo’s Canalside economic development project, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation started work on the Public Canal System. [WKBW]
  • Land banks. Meet New York’s newest public authorities. [Public Authorities Blog]
  • NFTA. Assemblyman Sean Ryan wants the ABO to review operations of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in order to uncover the source of its longterm fiscal problems. [Buffalo News]
  • NFTA. And the  acting chairman of the NFTA says that he’ll step aside if Governor Cuomo decides to appoint someone to replace him, but he also says that it’s going to take a lot more than a new board to address the authority’s financial problems. [Niagara Gazette]

 Beyond New York

  • Economic development. Most economists agree that states can do a few things, though not a lot, to help create jobs. [National Conference of State Legislatures]
  • How to organize transit workers. From Good Jobs First, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Transport Workers Union, a how-to manual on organizing transit riders. [GJF]
  • MBTA. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will unveil a list of potential fare increases and service cuts this month aimed at erasing a projected deficit of $161 million. [WBUR]
  • SFMTA. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to eliminate bus stops in order to provide faster service. [Bay Citizen]
  • Subsidies. Check out the subsidy tracker tool created by Good Jobs First, which lets you search economic development subsidy awards from 264 programs in 42 states. [GJF]
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