The Silver Touch for the Fulton Transit Hub

An early design of the Fulton Street Transit Center. Courtesy of the MTA.

An early design of the Fulton Street Transit Center. Courtesy of the MTA.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is taking credit for getting the MTA to devote half a billion dollars of federal stimulus money to the Fulton Street Transit Center. Last week, he told reporters he complained to the governor's office when the transit hub, which is in Silver's lower Manhattan district, did not appear on the first list of projects that were being considered as potential recipients of the funds. The allocation of the federal money to the hub, which is wildly over budget, then grew to $201 million and now stands at $497 million.

(The audio here is supplied courtesy of reporter Eliot Brown of The New York Observer, who wrote about the stimulus bill this week.)

Silver also takes a swipe at the 40th Street station on the Number 7 line at 10th Avenue, questioning whether it's "shovel ready." (Silver has often feared that a Hudson Yards business district would draw businesses away from downtown. He killed the West Side Stadium as a result.)

Ironically, even though the Fulton Street hub is already under construction, the $497 million the feds are giving the MTA isn't really for a shovel ready project either. WNYC, in a feature that aired Thursday, found that the stimulus money is aimed at the glass pavilion, for which work will not begin until summer 2010. The MTA is still working on the underground portion, which is being funded from a federal grant awarded years ago.

Here's that story.