Railroaded Through

MTA seeks to develop its property any way it wants, regardless of local laws

City Terrain Development East
Surveyors marking out foundation for Signal Bridge 24, April 2014. (MTA Capital Construction Mega Projects / Flickr)
Surveyors marking out foundation for Signal Bridge 24, April 2014. (MTA Capital Construction Mega Projects / Flickr)

In the final days of the state legislative session, it’s common practice for participating parties to play Supermarket Sweep with the budget bill: Hundreds of special-interest items are piled into the document at the eleventh hour when legislators don’t necessarily have the time to scrutinize each one.

At the end of the last legislative session, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) snuck a major item into the budget that would allow the agency to develop land it controls any way it chooses, regardless of local zoning.

Senate Bill 8037, sponsored by Senator Jack M. Martins, a Democrat from Eastern Long Island, would repeal the problematic language. The bill maintains that the definition of “transportation purpose” is too broad, and could have “unintended consequences” for local governments.

Martins’s bill passed the Assembly and the Senate, and is waiting for a signature from Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Architect’s Newspaper reached out to one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents part of Manhattan’s East Side, for comment on the legislation. A representative from Senator Krueger’s office stated that there’s no word yet on when the governor will take action on the bill.

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