Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Governor Cuomo briefly addressed the issue of mass transit out to his new favorite project, a massive convention center by near JFK Airport in Queens to be built by the Malaysian firm Genting, which is already operating a racino there. Speaking Wednesday in Yonkers, he didn't say much--but let it drop that the MTA "is working on additional transit applications" to the site.
No word yet from the MTA on what that might be. Transit advocates have expressed concern about the cost of such a project for an essentially broke agency -- and about the inconvenience to regular riders if, say, an express service gets prioritized. In a brief statement earlier this month, Genting said it would pay for transit, but didn't offer details.
Here's the transcript:
Reporter: Are you concerned about the transit extension for the convention center? Is there going to be enough service and is that going to be a problem?
Cuomo: The convention center would be where Aqueduct Racetrack is now, it’s very close to JFK airport, so it’s a place that is accessible and can be more accessible.
The reason I’m excited about it is it is a $4 billion private investment. It costs the taxpayers of this state nothing. Government doesn’t build. I don’t have to touch a shovel.
It would built by a private company, it’s financed by a private company, the state grants the company more racino rights. They would expand a racino, they would also build a convention center. We need the convention center.
It would be roughly three and a half times the size of the Javits Center currently and it would allow us to reuse the Javits center on the West Side because we wouldn’t now need the Javits as the convention center any longer. From my point of view it’s a win-win.
And at a time when government doesn’t have any money but wants to generate jobs, it’s a perfect solution.
Reporter: It’s not in any easy spot to get to by mass transit.
Cuomo: The MTA is working on additional transit applications.
Reporter: Are you optimistic they will reach a deal with the TW?
Cuomo: I’m leaving that up to the TWU and Joe Lhota. I am optimistic Joe Lhota is the right man to handle the situation.