In an unusual move, the board of the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) this morning postponed a vote on whether to issue tax-free bonds for parking facilities at the new Yankee Stadium.
At a hearing last week, residents of the South Bronx, along with public advocates, protested the $225 million triple tax exempt bond issue, which would be used to finance the construction of three stadium parking garages. Speakers testified that making so many parking spots available would encourage stadium-goers to drive to the asthma plagued area, rather than take public transit — and at taxpayer expense, as the bonds are estimated to cost New Yorkers some $8,000 per space in lost revenue.
Also at last week’s hearing, a representative of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Deputy Director for Planning & Development Paula Luria Caplan, told the IDA that Carrion’s office had been denied "vital information" concerning the project, and said the IDA should not act before "statutorily required approval" by the Bronx Borough Board. (Streetsblog contacted Carrion’s office for an update, but had not received a reply as of this writing.)
Today’s session, closed to public comment, featured no discussion of the parking bonds. Instead, it was announced that several IDA board members had concerns and questions, and that the matter would be decided later at a special-called meeting, for which no date was given.
"I hope that the board realizes that you can’t dress this up pretty," says Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York, an NGO that opposes the Yankees parking subsidy and has followed it closely (witness GJNY’s 28-page chronicle, "Insider Baseball"). "You can put lipstick on it all you want. It’s still a parking garage. The IDA has a tough job ahead of them."