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Hochul’s Penn Station revamp will take $5B from city, advocates charge

(NY POST) David Meyer, March 6, 2022

A number of activist groups claim that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Penn Station development plan is a “secretive maneuver” to redirect an estimated $5 billion away from the city and into state coffers.

The $5 billion swap stems from 2018 legislation pushed by ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo usurped city control over the area around Penn and declared it a slum — a move that activists called “wrongheaded” on Monday.

The leaders of Common Cause, Reinvent Albany, BetaNYC, League of Women Voters, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and NYPIRG slammed the decision as setting “a terrible precedent” in a letter to Hochul and leaders in Albany.

The groups called the state’s ploy to build the project without going through the city’s usual zoning process — known as Uniform Land Use and Review Process (ULURP) — “absurd, utterly undemocratic, and presumptuous,” and suggested developer Vornado Reality Trust could be in line for a big tax break.

“The Penn Station Area project is not a transit project,” the letter said. “It’s a secretive state maneuver to unilaterally take future NYC property tax dollars to pay for the state’s refurbishment of Penn Station and possibly provide extremely large subsidies to the politically connected Vornado Realty Trust.”

Vornado, which will build and manage new buildings, is owned by Steven Roth, a top political donor to candidates including Donald Trump and Hochul herself.

Source: NY Post