Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Port Authority Appointee Opposes Wtc Plan

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

New Port Authority Appointee Opposes Wtc Plan

Article excerpt

One of the Port Authority's newest commissioners is campaigning against a proposal to put $1.2 billion behind construction of a private tower planned for the World Trade Center site, calling an upcoming vote a "defining moment" for the embattled agency.

New York Commissioner Kenneth Lipper, a Wall Street executive and former deputy mayor under Ed Koch who joined the board in June, said the agency should instead find a way to pay for a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan.

The public debate between Lipper and other commissioners who are supportive of the additional investment in the World Trade Center represents a rare spark of dissent among the agency's board members and could foreshadow the first split vote by the 12-member board in years. It comes at a time when the agency is trying to move beyond the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and questions about its transparency and commissioners' apparent conflicts of interest.

A vote on financing for the long-stalled tower, 3 World Trade Center, planned by developer Larry Silverstein, is expected April 23.

Proponents say the proposal to guarantee $1.2 billion in construction loans for Silverstein's tower would help complete the site in lower Manhattan. Silverstein has been unable to get private financing.

And that, Lipper says, is an indication that the tower is a bad investment until the market for office space in lower Manhattan firms up.

"If you ask me for a reason to do it, I can find none," Lipper told The Record's editorial board on Tuesday. "The fact that they don't want to put up money," he said about bankers, "is indicative of an economic reality and should be a warning to the Port Authority, not catnip."

Instead, Lipper is pushing for a new Midtown bus terminal to replace the cramped building that increasingly houses long lines of commuters waiting for buses to make their way through the logjam on city streets and in the Lincoln Tunnel. …

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