Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cuts and CRamps

As we continue to comment on the city's dire fiscal condition-and the hue and cry over the need to cut the municipal work force-it is appropriate to, once again, ask why the city would spend $140 million to build the ramps to nowhere off of the Van Wyck (or spend hundreds of millions of dollars to throw businesses out of Willets Point and rehab the entire Iron Triangle area). It is time for the city to prioritize.

Now we believe that it is a fiscally prudent thing to trim the size of city government, but there are those-and the city council's newly formed "Progressive Caucus" would be included in this group-that disagree. And we would guess that there are tens of thousands of municipal workers who would also fit nicely into the nay saying category. And, if there are plans in the current economic crisis to cut police and close fire houses-as there certainly are-than the growing claque of critics widens even further to include homeowners and elected officials that wouldn't put themselves into the progressive corner.

Certainly, though, if our analysis of the efficacy of these ramps-or lack thereof-is spot on, than to spend the money is foolhardy. But the fiscal irresponsibility runs even deeper if we include the overall cost of the entire Willlets Point project; something that EDC and the mayor have consciously hid from the folks.

Put simply, the Willets Point development is a classic pig-in-a-poke-with huge sums being earmarked for a project that may never be fiscally feasible-and certainly isn't sensible in the current economic climate (if it ever was). So it is time for a moratorium to be placed on this ill-conceived, and environmentally hazardous, mega-plan. Now this is an excellent first initiative for the council's new progressive cohort-and they should be joined by others who question the mayor's misplaced priorities..