Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Port Authority's Compromised Mission

Crain's Insider is reporting on the letter that WPU sent to the Port Authority concerning its $6 million funding of the Willets Point EIS and the subsequent ramp report: "Opponents of the Willets Point redevelopment plan say the Port Authority may have funded a study of the area that will pave the way for increased travel delays to La Guardia and Kennedy airports, which the Port operates. Part of $100 million that the agency allocated for the city in 2004 may have been used to prepare an environmental impact statement “for a project that can only lead to the compromise of efficient airport access,” the letter said. The Port says it has not reviewed the letter."

The irony here is that the Port's money may have been part of a deal on the Airtrain, whereby the money was allocated in a quid pro quo for the city's support of the project-whose sole rationale was and is to ease airport access. The PA's Chris Ward signed off on the $100 million deal in 2009, a year after the Willets Point EIS had determined that 46% of the 80,000 car trips a day generated from the project would be diverted to the Van Wyck. Don't suppose the city alerted Ward to this.

But the WPU letter concludes with the following request, one that underscores the agency's mission: "The Port Authority should unambiguously re-assert its core interest in ensuring that airport access is not compromised, but protected; and, at the very least, should demand that the current ramp evaluation process be reconstituted as an independent review under the National Environmental Policy Act – something that the Natural Resources Defense Council, New York’s premier environmental group, has endorsed."

Let's see if Ward has the integrity to responds affirmatively to our request