Remember all the celebrations in 2003 when Governors Island was transferred from federal to state control for a dollar? Little progress has taken place, which left taxpayers frowning. Fast forward eight years later to 2011. Many benefits promised by numerous elected officials have yet to be seen. In 2003, the federal General Services Administration (GSA) estimated value of Governors Island was $500 million. Had the GSA put this site up to public auction, private developers may have bid up to $1 billion or more.
These revenues could have been used toward reducing our 15 trillion national debt or contributed toward balancing the annual Federal budget deficit. Proceeds could have also been used to provide badly needed federal assistance to New York City and New York State. Both Albany and City Hall face their own multibillion dollar deficits and long-term debt.
Between local bureaucratic rules and regulations, multiple agency and governmental jurisdictions, no consensus on what to do-combined with the lack of significant short or long term dedicated city or state funding budget for some specific improvements, how many more years will New Yorkers continue waiting for all the promised municipal improvements to Governors Island?
It might have been a better deal to turn this site over to the private sector. Private developers like Donald Trump would have invested their own monies resulting in a significant amount of construction jobs during conversion. Creation of new businesses would have provided permanent employment opportunities which would be good news to some of the 9 percent of fellow New Yorkers currently out of work. New tax revenue streams would be generated by both companies and employees.
While native Americans were robbed when they sold us Manhattan Island, perhaps taxpayers still appear to be the real losers on this transaction today.