Week of July 25, 2005
7/28/05Transportation Authority's Surprise Surplus
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it would have a surplus of $833 million this year after receiving an unexpected surge in tax revenue. Transit officials, who had previously predicted only a small surplus, said they would consider using $350 million to build a platform over the West Side railyards, which they could then sell to developers for office and apartment towers. The authority also plans to use $12 million for immediate improvements to the subway system, $2 million to upgrade commuter trains, and $10 for new security measures. Despite the surplus, the authority still plans to raise fares and tolls in 2007 and 2009.
For more on the surplus and reaction from local officials, see City Hall News
In the Press...
Pataki Won't Seek Fourth Term... (NY Times)
MTA to Deal Only with Rather Bid in Brooklyn (Daily News)
How Strong is NYC's Real Estate Market? (NY Post)
More Cases of HIV "Superstrain" Found (Newsday)
New JFK Airport Terminal (NY 1)
Council Approves Free Parking on Sundays and Other New Bills (Gotham Gazette)
Youth Studying (Not Committing) Crime (Gotham Gazette)
Pataki Won�t Seek Re-election, Reports Say
Governor George Pataki will announce today that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term, all the daily newspapers report this morning. The governor last night told top aides and allies of his decision, which ends months of speculation. While Pataki reportedly joked about a recent trip to Iowa, he will not make any announcement yet about a possible presidential run, an anonymous associate told reporters. If he had sought re-election, Pataki, who defeated incumbent Governor Mario Cuomo in 1994, would have faced a stiff challenge from state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who has already announced he will run for governor.
Problems Plague New Subway Cars
Plans for 660 new subway cars, costing more than a billion dollars, have run into serious problems, according to a recent report commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Alstom, a French company building 400 of the cars, has missed its deadline for delivering them. And the MTA rejected some of the cars made in a plant in Brazil after discovering welding defects. "The quality down there was very, very poor," the president of New York City Transit, Lawrence Reuter, told the New York Times. "We just refused to accept them."
For more, see Transportation Links in the News
In the Press...
More Students Skip Summer School (Daily News)
City Clears Way for 'Greener' Taxis (Newsday)
Security Security Security
Much of the news focuses once again on concerns about security, in the wake of the bombing of the London subway system. The random searching of bags expanded to more commuter rail and bus lines in the metropolitan region. Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for the handcuffing over the weekend of a group of British tourists who are Sikhs. Hundreds of private business leaders across the city plan to meet with the New York Police Department today to discuss how to protect their companies and New Yorkers against terrorism.
City Council Speaker Gifford Miller criticized both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the mayor for the slow pace of beefing up security in the subways: "In New York's 468 stations, which include thousands of entrances and turnstiles, just 276 stations have cameras installed in them," Miller said.
The city saw one positive development. As a result of the doubling of uniformed officers in the subway to guard against terrorism, crime in the city's subways has dropped 22 percent so far this month. Before the increased police presence, subway crime had been on the rise.
For details, go to City Hall News
In the Press...
MTA: Second Avenue Subway Faces Two-Year Delay (Daily News)
Bag Check In The Subway (Completely In Dialogue) (The New Yorker)
Demographics Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Upstate And Downstate � Differing Demographics, Continuing Conflicts (Gotham Gazette)
How Craigslist Has Been In New York City Five Years (New York Magazine)
Transit Security Scare
Penn Station was evacuated for more than an hour yesterday after a belligerent passenger, who had argued loudly with an Amtrak representative over problems with a ticket, placed a bag on a counter and said a bomb was inside. Amtrak police arrested the man and evacuated areas close to the ticket counter and then the rest of the station for more than an hour. The NYPD's bomb squad found no explosives.
Meanwhile, heavily armed police swarmed a double-decker bus packed with tourists in Times Square and arrested five passengers, who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, after the Gray Line Bus supervisor alerted authorities that were carrying backpacks and had stuffed their pockets. Police said the men were found not carrying backpacks. No one was arrested, nor brought to a precinct for questioning.
New York and MTA officers will continue to check bags of selected passengers entering subways, buses and commuter rails, as they have done since since late last week.
For more, go toCity Hall News
In the Press...
The Race for Public Advocate (Gotham Gazette)
311's Growing Pains (Gotham Gazette)