Tax breaks on parking Yank group
2,500 more parking spaces planned
BY BILL EGBERT
Tuesday, August 14th 2007, 4:00 AM
The new Yankee Stadium will have about 5,000 fewer seats than the House that Ruth Built. So why does it need 2,500 more parking spaces than the old stadium?
And why are New York State and city taxpayers paying more than $8,000 for each one?
Those are just a few of the questions raised by a new report on the heavily subsidized stadium project recently issued by Good Jobs New York, a joint project of the Fiscal Policy Institute and Good Jobs First to promote accountability in economic development subsidies.
The report, Insider Baseball (on www.goodjobsny.org), describes the behind-the-scenes machinations by current and former Bronx and other public officials to secure more than $663 million in federal, state and local taxpayer subsidies for the richest franchise in sports.
"It's not fair of the elected officials to ask taxpayers to 'take one for the team,'" said Bettina Damiani, Good Jobs New York's director. "It doesn't make sense economically or socially."
The new parking garages alone are getting subsidies of more than $96 million, with $76 million of that coming out of New York City and Albany.
The state has committed $70 million to the construction costs outright, with the rest of the subsidy coming in the form of foregone tax revenue on $190 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the city's Industrial Development Agency to finance the garages.
Once the new garages are built and nearby lots refurbished, the new stadium will have more than 9,000 parking spaces. With state and local subsidies topping $76 million, that will come at a cost to taxpayers of more than $8,000 each.
The cost may rise if the company building and operating the garages, Bronx Community Initiatives Development Corp., defaults on the bonds and leaves the city holding the bag for $190 million.
In 2002, the corporation's parent company, Community Initiatives Development Corp., defaulted on $7 million in bonds issued on its behalf by the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency.
Community Initiatives Development Corp.'s Hudson, N.Y., headquarters did not return calls for comment.
But beyond whether the additional parking spaces are worth the taxpayer cost, the report questions whether they're needed at all.
The builders of the new Gateway Mall just south of the new stadium already have committed 1,200 parking spaces to be available for game-day parking.
And the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is building a new Metro-North stop to serve the new stadium and expects as many as 10,000 Yankee fans to take the train to games rather than drive.