Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Beep holds up his support for stadium garages" Daily News 9/25/7

Beep holds up his support for stadium garages

Tuesday, September 25th 2007, 4:00 AM

Bronx leaders are putting the brakes on a controversial financing plan for parking garages for the new Yankee Stadium until the city shows them some real facts.

Some fear the garages will wind up opening full time, bringing a flood of cars into the asthma-choked South Bronx, with commuters avoiding Mayor Bloomberg's proposed Manhattan traffic congestion fee.

Borough President Adolfo Carrión's Borough Board refused to endorse the heavily subsidized financing plan last week at its monthly meeting because the city's Economic Development Corp. still hasn't provided the documents and clarifications Carrión wants to see before signing off on the plan.

Specifically, EDC would not give him even basic documentation including the draft lease agreement and the feasibility study prior to a scheduled vote this month on the project's $225 million tax-free bond issue by EDC's Industrial Development Agency.

Carrión's opposition forced the IDA to table the vote indefinitely.

The garages are to be built and run by the Bronx Parking Development Co., a shell corporation set up by an essentially one-person upstate not-for-profit company called Community Initiatives Development Corp. specifically to receive a taxpayer subsidy. Besides the $225 million bond issue, Albany already has committed $70 million toward the garage construction.

The new stadium will have about 5,000 fewer seats than the old one, but BPDC plans to create 2,500 extra parking spaces, leading some to question the economic viability of the garages, intended to be open only about 80 home game days a year.
Because the city would guarantee the bond issue, taxpayers could be left paying off the $225 million bonds if the garages lose money and the company defaults.

More recently, EDC has said the garages could make enough money by staying open year-round.

But many area residents worry the 9,000 parking spaces around the stadium will turn their already traffic- and asthma-choked neighborhood into a de facto park-and-ride hub especially if the mayor's Manhattan congestion pricing plan becomes reality.


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