$2 billion is a good start, governor
Gov. George Pataki won a big battle for Downtown Thursday when he got President Bush to support transferring $2 billion in 9/11-related tax credits to a link connecting Lower Manhattan to the Long Island Rail Road and J.F.K. Airport. We believe this project will provide a permanent stimulus to Downtowns economy.
The city estimates that $2.6 billion in the federal tax credits were never used, and although it looks like to us that Congress is only being asked to authorize money it has already paid for, New Yorkers know from painful experience that federal money for the city is never easily secured.
That said, Thursdays announcement only means that the president will come close to fulfilling his original $21.4 billion promise to help Downtown recover from the attack on America.
Two billion dollars, added to the Port Authoritys $560 million and the Metropolitan Transportation Authoritys $400 million gets us to half the $6 billion needed to pay for the link.
We and everyone else who cares about Lower Manhattan should never forget that last December, Pataki at a press conference at the World Trade Center temporary PATH station, said: I believe when all is said and done, well get more than the $21 billion.
The president has no better friend in New York than our governor, so when Pataki makes a statement like that, Downtowners have a right to expect more money is coming to help Lower Manhattan.
Pataki aides continue to say the remaining $900 million in Lower Manhattan Development Corp. money could be used for the link. There are many other good ways to use this community development money governor. And we still remember what you said in December.
Good-looking barriers, make good neighbors
Financial firms are a vital component of Lower Manhattan and they of course are in need of special security protections. We have not enjoyed seeing more and more Jersey barriers in the neighborhood the last few years, but only a fool would question the need, particularly outside the headquarters of high-profile buildings like the Citigroup building on Greenwich St. Some may still call it the Travelers or umbrella building or remember another old name like Shearson Lehman, but regardless, we like the look of the new metal security barriers being installed outside the building.
Better-looking security barriers, make for better neighbors. Well leave it to others to figure out what the best security protections are. But since were going to have to live with this stuff for as far as the eye can see, lets make sure its something the eye doesnt mind looking at. Thanks Citigroup.