Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Capital Idea?

The WSJ is reporting that the Bloomberg administration is throwing in the towel on building some of the (controversial)marine transfer stations: "The city is also proposing to privatize four marine transfer stations that are part of the city's comprehensive sanitation plan.:

It is now five years since the city's SWMP was passed by the clueless council and we still have no movement to realizing the environmental justice dream of sticking a solid waste station to the snooty Upper East Side-leaving aside the fact that the marine transfer station is in a residential area that is home to thousands of lower income public housing tenants and is slated to be built over a park!

What does this privatization scheme mean? It means to us that New York is tap city when it comes to capital expenditures and is looking to out source the costs of these transfer stations. Now for us this makes a great deal of fiscal sense but it underscores the fact that the city has little money to waste and that the Willets Point pipe dream should be shelved because of the fiscal uncertainty that NYC faces. We are still waiting for the hidden costs of the project to be publicized for the awaiting sticker shocked citizens.

But for the environmental justice folks this privatization means that the transfer stations will not be coming any time soon-with litigation and a lengthy bidding process very much in the way. Who in the private sector is going to step up to bid under these circumstances?

As the city's dire fiscal conditions become clear-and the Bloomberg folks are busy trying to raise every fee they can think of-isn't it time for some fiscal watchdog to take a look at Willets Point and observe that the emperor has no clothes on?