New York City's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics suffered a setback Monday when a powerful state board rejected critical public funding for a $2 billion stadium on Manhattan's West side.
Union workers react to the decision of the Public Authorities Control Board following a vote on a New York City stadium in Albany, N.Y., Monday, June 6, 2005. New York City's bid to host the 2012 Olympics was dealt a setback Monday when the powerful state board rejected a plan to build a $2 billion stadium in Manhattan. The board failed to approve $300 million in state money for the stadium. The plan needed the unanimous approval of the three-member board, and it received only one vote. (AP Photo/Tim Roske)
The financing board failed to approve $300 million in state money for the stadium that would also serve as home to the New York Jets. The plan, which needed unanimous approval from the three-member board, received only one vote.
New York is in competition with Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow for the 2012 Games. Earlier Monday, the International Olympic Committee released a report ranking Paris highest among the finalists and indicating that construction of the stadium is crucial to New York's chances.
The state board could reconsider the issue again later. But without the support of member Sheldon Silver — the state Assembly Speaker who came out against the plan less than an hour before vote was taken — the state funding cannot move forward.
"This plan is at best, premature," Silver said, indicating he was willing to continue talking about the issue.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg had heavily lobbied Silver in recent days for support of the stadium.
"If we don't have a stadium, we cannot get the Olympics," Bloomberg said after Silver's announcement. "I had not been able to persuade him."
The mayor said he would talk with members of the U.S. Olympic Committee about how to proceed.
Silver said the West Side stadium project and its related commercial development would hamper efforts to redevelop lower Manhattan, which he represents, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers.
"Am I to sell out the community I have fought for?" Silver said at a state Capitol news conference. The speaker renewed his call for officials to consider putting the stadium in Queens.
Silver, Republican Gov. George Pataki and state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno each have a voting representative on the three-member PACB. Only the representative for Pataki, a stadium backer, voted for the funding plan. Representatives of Silver and Bruno, who had remained on the fence, abstained.
The meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., was delayed more than an hour in part because of more than 100 vocal stadium supporters who showed up and continued behind-the-scene talks.
Earlier Monday, Bruno had said he was willing to approve the funding contingent on approval of New York City's Olympic bid. He offered that as an amendment at the PACB meeting, but the motion failed to gain a second.
Bruno said even before the PACB's meeting that negotiations might continue beyond Monday.
Dan Doctoroff, the main supporter of the city's 2012 bid, said after the report came out: "We have, as they (IOC) pointed out, really only one liability and that liability is thus far our inability to deliver a guaranteed done Olympic stadium."
The stadium plan has been contentious from the start.
Supporters, including Pataki and Bloomberg, have touted its economic development potential.
Detractors, including the owner of the neighboring Madison Square Garden, have questioned everything from the process that would allow the Jets to buy the property where the stadium would be built to the wisdom of spending large amounts of public money.
The NFL has said the Jets can host the 2010 Super Bowl, but only if the team has the new stadium. The Jets currently play their home games in New Jersey, along with the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. New York officials have said they fear the Jets, without a Manhattan stadium, will stay in New Jersey where the Giants are going to build their own new stadium.
Associated Press Writers Deepti Hajela and Sara Kugler in New York City and Mark Johnson in Albany contributed to this report.
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