More than 40 people gave the board of the MTA board their two cents worth on the Atlantic Yards project at a meeting yesterday. But WNYC's Mathew Schuerman reports that many of its supporters have financial ties to project's developer Bruce Ratner.
Thirty-two people spoke in favor of the project. Some were unemployed or in training programs, and wore reflective vests to prove it. But half represented organizations that have already received money from Ratner or stand to gain if the project moves forward. Witnesses included an executive from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Ratner serves as a trustee, and several officials from construction unions whose members would be put to work at the project. Opponents meanwhile included four elected officials, residents of the Prospect Heights neighborhood where the project will go, and a representative from the Regional Plan Association, a civic group that said the new deal was significantly worse than the one first agreed to four years ago.
A spokesman for Ratner, Jo DePlasco, said the speakers at the meeting supported the project because they thought it was best for the city, not out of self-interest.