Two NY State agencies are involved in Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal: the MTA, which agreed to sell the railyards to Ratner, despite the developer's low bid; and the Empire State Development Corporation, the "collaborating" agency that's handling the environmental review and approval process.
NY State's quasi-governmental corporations have long been the subject of scrutiny. These agencies act independently of the State Legislature, creating boondoggles for the politically connected, taking on additional debt and being held accountable to no one but the politicians who appoint the board members.
In 2005, the state enacted some measures to reform the authorities. But a report issued last month by the Commission on Public Authority Reform, known as the Millstein Commission after its chair Ira Millstein, said much more remained to be done. And some critics say even that panel did not go far enough. At a recent panel discussion, several experts discussed the problems with authorities and what could be done to fix them.
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