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Paterson Reiterates Support for Moynihan Station, Calls for Panel on MTA Budget

paterson speech podium from left

Yesterday, in remarks before the Association for a Better New York Governor Paterson expressed strong support for Moynihan Station. The state has “to develop the far west side of this area, creating a third downtown center in the downstate region, with the development of the Hudson Yards and the establishment of Moynihan Station,” he said.

Just one day after the Mayor’s congestion pricing plan faltered in Albany, Paterson announced a “blue ribbon panel,” led by former MTA Chair Richard Ravitch, to “ameliorate the hole in our capital budget.” He said the panel will examine three main issues:

“One is how to balance the subsidizing of the MTA Capital Plan, through the subscription of those who use the services and a broad balance of taxes for businesses and the rest of the public.”

“Secondly, what we want to look at are the elements of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan that all of us like, and that perhaps we can still weave them into the process.”

“And finally, we have to get the MTA out of its habit, which is 25 years old, of refinancing and basically covering debt with excessive borrowing. By 1998, in this country the five largest borrowers were the State of California, the State of New York, the City of New York, the State of Massachusetts and the MTA. The MTA doesn’t even have a Governor and they are the fifth largest debtor in the entire country. That has to be changed.”

In conclusion, Governor Paterson evoked New York’s history for encouragement about thinking and building big in tough economic times:

“Finally, I just want to address the issue that I’m sure many people have, that how can we be talking about all of these creative projects at a time when we have fiscal deficit. It is actually I think the paradigm that most separates the foreparents of the State of New York and the City of New York from others, that even in the midst of crisis they fought, they suffered and they paid for it, but they went ahead and what they won was the greatest city in the world, developed from the dreams and aspiration of people who looked doubt in the face and went forward anyway. It is really amazing that six of the nine years that they were starting to establish the economic development, between 1820 and 1840, their budgets were in deficit. On January 20, 1930, right at the outset of the Depression, they put a shovel in the ground to build the Empire State Building. By March 1, 1931, it was built and it was open. Thirteen months. This was done by people we knew.”

“In 1939, still reeling from the Depression, on November 1st, John D. Rockefeller hammered the final nail into the construction at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, and introduced the public to Rockefeller Center. We can prevail during these particular times. No one knew this better than Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he said in the early 1930s that out of crisis, out of tribulation, out of disaster human kind raises itself to share what is a greater vision, what is a greater ability and what is a more pure purpose. We can do this if we engage that new spirit of cooperation, and work toward a common goal. And if we work hard enough there will be a time when people will stand on this stage at another ABNY breakfast and talk about how the New York at the turn of the century endured its financial problems. And if we try hard enough, we may be able to look back in just a very few years and be very proud of the work we’ve done.”