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RATNER’S RICHES

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In the wake of $66 million in public subsidies approved by the state legislature for Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, Gov. Pataki promised this week to make it a cool $100 million — even if he doesn’t know how.

“We don’t exactly know where the funds will come from, but an appropriate funding stream will be found,” said state budget spokesman John Sweeney.

Pataki’s $34-million addition — which will make good on the state’s promise to provide $100 million to the still-unapproved $3.5-billion development — comes as both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Brunswick) have lambasted the governor for more than 200 budget cuts, including cuts in education and Medicaid spending.

The difference with Atlantic Yards is that all three Albany leaders support it.

“They are working together on this to commit the $100 million,” said Sweeney.

The money will go towards widening streets and improving infrastructure in the Prospect Heights neighborhood where Ratner wants to build.

In the Senate last week, only Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Prospect Heights) — in whose district Ratner’s project would rise — voted against that body’s $33-million subsidy.

Ratner’s triumph in Albany offered a chance for critics to charge that legislators are putting the carrot of public subsidies before the stick of public review of, and approval of, Atlantic Yards.

“There seems a fair amount of discussion … when it comes to the Yankees and the Mets stadiums, but no conversation at all on the Ratner project — which is getting more money then either project,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destoy Brooklyn.

Ratner has championed Atlantic Yards as an economic engine that will create jobs and affordable housing. But he’s also backed by a prominent lobbying firm, Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein. A senior labor partner at the firm was appointed by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to serve on an advisory board on employee welfare and pension benefits.

“For housing, for economic development and for job creation, this project will meet the important needs of Brooklyn residents and their families,” state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) said in a statement. “For today’s generation and for the future, the construction of the Nets arena is something that will bring Brooklyn to new heights, to a dominance as a borough and as a county.”



Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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