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Say yes today to Jets stadium


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Daily News Editorial

It is in the interest of New York taxpayers - and especially in the interest of the millions who ride the subways, buses and commuter rails - that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno today give their blessings to construction of a stadium and convention center on Manhattan's West Side.

On their say-so rests whether New York gets a first-class facility that more than pays for itself, positions the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reap well over $1 billion, creates thousands of jobs, spurs development in a fallow neighborhood, speeds an extension of the No. 7 subway line and keeps the city in the running for the 2012 Olympics, along with all the Games-related housing and recreational venues that are planned for the five boroughs.

The benefits of the stadium, which would bring the Jets home to New York while serving as an annex to the Javits Convention Center, are manifest. So much so that the project's supporters include both Rudy Giuliani and Al Sharpton, a majority of the City Council, most of the city's Assembly delegation, the hotel and tourism industry, the major construction unions and the MTA board.

Yesterday, a respected independent referee said decisively that stadium backers have their heads screwed on right. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn carefully parsed the facts and put the lie to the distortions disseminated by Cablevision in a multimillion-dollar advertising and lobbying effort to protect Madison Square Garden from competition. The MTA made a sound business decision in granting the Jets permission to build over its railyard for the tidy sum of a quarter-billion dollars, the judge concluded.

By giving the proposed stadium the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, Cahn helpfully set the stage for today's meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board, a panel that has jurisdiction because a state authority would help finance the stadium. That's where Silver and Bruno enter the picture, each citing purportedly unanswered questions as grounds for withholding approval.

Silver also argues - wrongly, we believe - that the rezoning of the neighborhood near the stadium site will siphon development from lower Manhattan. He is, in effect, holding the stadium hostage to persuade Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg to provide financial incentives, such as forgiveness of the commercial rent tax, to businesses that relocate downtown. The governor and mayor should meet Silver at least halfway, both to spark growth around Ground Zero and to force him and Bruno to deal with the stadium on the merits.

Because on the merits, it's a slam-dunk winner.

The arena would be built on a platform over Long Island Rail Road yards. Equipped with a retractable roof, it would be the Jets' home, allow the city to host mega-events like the Super Bowl and draw conventions that the Javits Center now turns away. The Jets would invest more than $1.5 billion, including the $250 million for the MTA.

The city and state would each kick in $300 million - money raised through bonding - to pay for a roof that would outfit the building for conventions and a platform over the railyards. The spending would more than pay for itself, according to four, count them, four studies. The most conservative, done by the Independent Budget Office, projects $55 million in new tax revenue in the stadium's first year of operation, $900 million in profit to taxpayers over the life of the bonds and almost 4,000 permanent jobs.

What's more, the MTA would be in line to sell development rights that would accrue to the property on a rezoning for a windfall. Cahn found $1 billion credible, with far more to come from the sale of development rights attached to an adjacent parcel. A couple billion dollars for subways and buses would come in handy about now.

Finally, we have the Olympics. In and of themselves, the Games are not the reason to approve the stadium. Instead, winning them would be the icing on a very rich cake. The city cannot get the Games without the stadium, nor will the International Olympic Committee be satisfied with promises by Silver and Bruno to build whatever if the IOC gives the city the nod.

With the Olympics deadline at hand, now is the time for Silver and Bruno to do what's right. What counts are the facts, not the prevarications of Cablevision's lobbyists, who include former top Silver aide Pat Lynch, Bruno's son Kenneth and champion fixer Al D'Amato. Much is at stake. If Silver and Bruno dodge, delay or hedge, the Olympics will be the first of many casualties - chief among them the taxpayers and mass transit riders. Silver and Bruno must vote yea, and they must do so today.

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I would think Limolady wrote that, it's so full of Jay Cross propaganda.

There are no spelling errors, though.

Let's hope Bruno and Silver ignore this crap and stand firm against the Manhattan Disaster.

I think Bruno is for the most part. After all, he has already stated publicly that the ENTIRE funding should come from the private sector. Plus with the HOLD on the vote until Monday, the State Comptroller is now also on the ANTI-Stadium Bandwagon.

It's gonna be an interesting Monday!

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I can't see the new Giants stadium going through if the WEST SIDE happens. All college football games, concerts and soccer will go to New York and the Giants will be stuck with a stadium that costs 800 million and is only used 8 times a year.

Will Tish and Mara back out?

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