It seems like every week there’s a new example of how we’re all paying the price for Atlantic Yards while developer Bruce Ratner laughs his way to the bank.
State officials in Albany — Ratner’s partners in this taxpayer-underwritten boondoggle — have consistently told residents that the $4-billion mega-project won’t have much of a negative impact on Brooklyn.
Easy for them to say: they’re not the ones who have to live with Atlantic Yards. And they’re certainly not in charge of fixing all the problems that the 16-tower arena and residential project will cause.
That job is increasingly being parceled out to any number of city agencies or outside companies that already had enough on their plate before the state greenlighted this ill-conceived monstrosity.
Weeks after Atlantic Yards was approved, for example, the city Department of Transportation, realizing that the state’s rosy traffic scenarios were a mirage, proposed a bold plan to convert two avenues in Park Slope into one-way throughfares.
We can still hear the screaming.
Now Con Edison, the energy giant, comes forward to say it needs a 17-percent rate hike — in part because of the massive energy demands of Atlantic Yards.
Massive demands? But state officials said only last year that “increases in demand [due to Atlantic Yards] would be insignificant,” according to the project’s final environmental impact statement.
Obviously, Atlantic Yards will require improvements to the energy infrastructure — just as it will require new schools, police and fire coverage, and many other public services. But during the project’s review process, state officials attempted to camouflage the real costs by hiding them in parenthetical clauses or glancing asides.
Take the current controversy over energy costs. Not only does the impact statement outlandishly claim that the eight-million-square-foot Atlantic Yards project would cause an “insignificant” impact, but it tries to shift the burden onto someone else.
“[Infrastructure] improvements are also proposed by Consolidated Edison and KeySpan with respect to the local electric and gas distribution grids that would improve service to the project site,” the impact statement said.
Proposed by Consolidated Edison? Talk about burying the lead! Who do you think will pay for those needed “improvements”?
You will — as Con Ed told state regulators last week, when the company asked for that 17-percent rate hike.
The same thing will happen when the city realizes it needs a new school, sewage treatment plant, police precinct and traffic enforcement officers because of the supposedly “insignificant” Atlantic Yards.
It’s always refreshing to hear the costly truth about Atlantic Yards, but it would have been nicer to hear it from our supposed protectors in state government before they approved the project.
Indeed, if more people in power had told the truth about the development from the start, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this mess.