New Bill Requires More MTA Oversight

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other public authorities in New York will have to operate differently now that the legislature has passed a bill requiring more oversight.

The measure makes many wide-ranging changes to reign in the state's semi-autonomous authorities. It also seeks to discourage those entities from selling their property for below-market value. That provision arose after former Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg prompted the MTA to sell its rail yards on Manhattan's West Side in 2005 to make way for a new football stadium. And critics say the same thing is happening in Brooklyn with Atlantic Yards now.

A version of the bill that passed this summer would have prohibited those deals. But after Mayor Bloomberg objected, arguing the provision would hamper economic development, the state legislature agreed to rework the bill. The revised legislation still allows authorities to sell property below market value, though it gives the governor, the assembly, or the state senate veto power.

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