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Poor planning



To the editor:

Governor Kathy Hochul’s and Mayor Eric Adams’ agreement to support payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) for three new office buildings to help finance the new $10 billion Port Authority Bus Terminal is fools gold. PILOTs are 40 years of future property tax revenues from developers. This is supposed to raise $2 billion toward the $10 billion cost for the new facility. Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton is counting on fools gold.

There is a glut of existing Manhattan office space. Many are subleasing unused space, downsizing when renewing leases or relocating many employees and functions to suburban back offices. Hochul was counting on the same private sector investments to help raise billions to cover the cost of her new $8 billion Penn Station Vision project. These competing projects for tenants are only blocks apart. 

If the air rights sale generates less than anticipated revenue, the shortfall will have to be made up elsewhere. The Port Authority will turn to taxpayers, riders and motorists who will be paying higher fares, bridge and tunnel tolls. This shortfall would add to the Port Authority's long-term deficit and ongoing financial difficulties.

There needs to be agreements with the city and various owners of underground utilities, including water, sewer, gas, electric, steam and cable before being ready to commence construction. This is critical for the proposed three new office buildings. Successful completion of these agreements can take years. Who will pay for additional critical municipal services such as fire, police and sanitation?

Post COVID-19, many former commuters continue working from home. It will be years before ridership comes close to 260,000 pre-Covid numbers. The anticipated significant ridership growth for use of the new facility may be overly optimistic

Larry Penner


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