Today’s Headlines

  • Family of Ryo Oyamada, Pedestrian Killed by NYPD, Takes City to Federal Court (Gothamist)
  • DOT Won’t Confirm Citi Bike Launch Date (AMNY); Post Runs With It; News 12 “Reports” Delay
  • Companies Race to Get In on NYC Bike-Share App Market (TransNat)
  • See This DNAinfo Piece for a Preview of Future Bike-Share Reportage
  • City Says Hail Apps Not Technically Illegal, Injunction Or No (News)
  • DOT Gets Fed Funds to Fix Carroll Street Bridge, Where Schumer Bikes “All the Time” (Bklyn Paper)
  • NYT Sits In at Bike Safety Course, Runs Zinger-Free Story About It
  • Search for Suspect Who Escaped NYPD Custody Shuts Subway Lines for Hours (NYT)
  • Lease Negotiations Between City and Hunts Point Produce Market at Standstill (Crain’s)
  • Gelinas: NYC Shouldn’t Be Borrowing Money to Maintain Bridges (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • bob

    “There is never any guarantee with taxes” – there is a guarantee with Apple sales? You think future Apple sales 30 years from now are safer than future NYC tax receipts? This is very simple: if the value added by the maintenance + future growth is equal to or greater than the interest rate, then the City should borrow. There are no other pieces to calculate.

  • Joe R.

    If Apple goes under, some people just won’t have gadgets. If NYC goes under, well, let’s not go there. That’s why I don’t think we should bet the city’s future by borrowing. Yes, a lot of maintenance needs to be done, but until we insist that it gets done properly I’d rather not spend another dime. Seriously, we “fix” streets and they’re crap three years later. In my mind, if we’re going to borrow for maintenance then that means we should do things like systematically rebuild each street, starting with those seeing the most use and in the worst shape, to the highest standards possible. That in turn implies maybe a two or three foot thick concrete sub-road bed, topped with a 6″ concrete wear layer which can easily be replaced when needed (probably at >50 year intervals if it’s done right). No more asphalt, no more crap patchwork. And while we’re rebuilding the streets, all the utilities get relocated into trenches or tunnels so the street never, ever has to be broken up again by ConEd or Verizon. That’s the type of maintenance I’d be willing to give a go ahead for NYC to borrow for, not make work projects which need to be redone every few years.

  • Ian Turner

    Apple is not borrowing against future sales, they are borrowing against cash they have in the bank but don’t want to repatriate for tax reasons. Totally different scenario.

  • Bob

    As far as bond investors are concerned, Apple IS borrowing against future sales – bond investors will not have access to the foreign funds if Apple, for some reason, does not repay. Apple is borrowing because it is cheaper for them to do so, not for some core objection to repatriation. If it is cheaper, in the long-run, to borrow for maintenance, NYC should too. This is not difficult stuff.

  • Bolwerk

    Unfortunately, that’s a completely untenable position. At the very least, it’s irrational not to borrow for long-term or even medium-term capital projects for the simple reason that it locks in a stable revenue stream. Existing debt says almost nothing about how much sense it makes to borrow for other projects – the only case to be made about existing debt is that it was borrowed for poor reasons. It doesn’t mean borrowing for the right reasons should be forbidden.

    Yes, borrowing can be used to screw over taxpayers. Surprise, surprise: so can not borrowing.

  • Joe R.

    I’m not philosophically against borrowing. I just want to make sure any borrowing goes for either worthwhile new projects, or repairing/rebuilding existing infrastructure to certain standards. I expressly *don’t* want to borrow money to pay a bunch of guys to dump asphalt into potholes. Half-assed maintenance is a good part of the reason the city now has so much infrastructure in disrepair. If we want to pay the pothole guys, do it out of existing revenue. Borrowing to do something 20 times instead of just doing it right the first time screws over taxpayers big time.

  • Bolwerk

    I think the operative problem with infrastructure is refusal by unions to reform how we invest in infrastructure. Turning borrowing into a synecdoche for bad political decisions – often made by the very people now bitching about borrowing – is just missing the point. Borrowing is nothing more than a tool that can be used for evil or for good.

    (I had a longer response, but crapware Disqus choked on it and I lost it, so screw it.)