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Photo from the New York Sun

SIGNIFICANCE OF RAMPS MISUNDERSTOOD BY CITY COUNCIL


Although the New York City Council voted to approve the ramps and development on November 13, 2008, there is evidence that Council members – including Speaker Christine Quinn – were woefully uninformed about the scope and significance of the proposed ramps. Council members apparently did not understand that the proposed ramps are not modest local projects within the Council's authority to approve, but in fact are major modifications to the federal highway system, and therefore also require approvals of both NYSDOT and FHWA prior to any construction.

At a news conference held at City Hall on November 13, 2008, a reporter asked Council members about the need for federal approval of the proposed Van Wyck ramps. Speaker Christine Quinn appeared bewildered, as if she had never heard of the necessity for any other approvals. Quinn responds, "That is not our understanding" (which is contrary to the facts). Melinda Katz shrugs and does not know the answer; and Hiram Monserrate answers in the negative, confirming Quinn's misunderstanding. Immediately after demonstrating their utter lack of understanding during the news conference, this trio voted to approve the ramps.

Video (25 seconds): View an excerpt of the press conference held on November 13, 2008 just prior to the City Council's vote to approve the ramps and associated development.




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