If you ever find yourself wondering why some of the infrastructure in America’s largest and richest city seems so inadequate, you need look no farther than the southern tip of Manhattan for part of the answer. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — responsible for lower Hudson bridges, tunnels, the over-capacity Port Authority bus terminal and the woefully inadequate regional airports — is on the hook for a net $7.7 billion in World Trade Center rebuilding costs. In today’s New York Post, Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute explains why.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Seven World Trade Center, Larry Silverstein’s first Ground Zero rebuilding effort, is now worth $940 million.
At 1.7 million square feet, that works out to $553 per square foot.
Using that same formula, the 2.6-million-square-foot One World Trade Center (the Freedom Tower), now reaching the sky, would be worth about $1.4 billion.
Yet the Port Authority is spending about $3.8 billion to build One World Trade.
Yes, yes, the comparison is imperfect. 1WTC will have world-class retail. Still … that’s a lot of retail.
Furthermore, 7WTC has its value partly because it is a fully leased building with a solid six-year operating history.
New York is at the top of the debt list in the latest U.S. Census data on state and local government finances.
As of 2009, New York’s state and local long-term indebtedness came to $15,202 per-capita, more than any state and 74 percent above the national average. In 2008, New York’s per-capita state and local debt load was $13,804 and ranked third, trailing only Alaska and Massachusetts.
Comparatively speaking, state and local debt in New York wasn’t much lighter when measured as a share of income, coming to $326 per $1,000 — 45 percent above average and narrowly trailing only Alaska. In the debt per $1,000 category, the Empire State’s #3 ranking was unchanged.
Tables based on the newly released 2009 Census data on state and local government finances have been updated at the Empire Center’s Data Bank.
Declining bridge and tunnel traffic is one of the factors cited by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as justification for its proposed toll and fare increase, which has met with a predictable reaction from Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie. But a closer look at the PA’s original traffic projections suggest they may have been inflated to start with.