NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
July 12, 2004


Silver Unveils Assembly Convention Center Expansion Bill

Proposal Balances Regional Economic Goals With Community Needs

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today unveiled legislation that would authorize the expansion of the Javits Convention Center on Manhattan's Westside. According to Silver, the measure provides a funding plan; community and labor protections; and oversight that will help move this vital regional project forward.

"From the start, the Assembly Majority has expressed support for the expansion of the Javits Convention Center - recognizing that it will provide significant economic benefits to our community through increased tourism, trade shows and other special events. At the same time, it was important to provide a full review of the issue, protect the rights of workers and ensure that the public had the opportunity to be heard on this complicated and far-reaching proposal," said Silver. "As a result of our public hearing and hours of conversations and research, we drafted a bill that is fiscally sound, addresses community needs and ensures proper financial oversight."

In advancing the legislation, Silver applauded the dedication and hard work of Assemblymembers Richard Brodsky, Scott Stringer and Dick Gottfried for the "invaluable" role they played in crafting the legislation. Silver also expressed his gratitude to labor and business leaders for their input and efforts in assisting in developing this plan.

"Each of these members brought to the table a unique and valuable perspective that contributed to the creation of this thoughtful and comprehensive plan," said Silver. "Their efforts are truly a testament to the strength of our majority."

"Moving Javits forward is a crucial and immediate need. The governor must stop holding Javits hostage to a controversial football stadium," said Brodsky, chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. "The committees' hearing showed a clear consensus to move forward with Javits and that's what this bill does."

"The Assembly's public hearing demonstrated that the clear consensus is that the Javits Center expansion must move forward while protecting the community's role and ensuring proper oversight. Our bill accomplishes this and I hope the Senate will support it," said Stringer, chair of the Assembly Committee on Cities.

"I have worked to ensure that the expansion of the Convention Center moves forward. This legislation does that," said Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who represents the Javits Convention Center area and sponsored the original legislation to create it. "The Governor's proposed legislation linked the Javits expansion to the construction of the Jets stadium. This legislation moves the Javits expansion forward, but not a stadium. Javits is the right choice for New York."

Silver noted that under the Assembly bill (A.11752), the financing of the project is similar to that of the governor's plan except that the Assembly limits the exposure of dedicated housing funds by capping the amount of SONYMA money available for the project and keeping Battery Park City funds intact. And unlike the governor's proposal, the Assembly does not call for the creation of a car rental tax.

In addition, unlike the governor's bill the Assembly's measure requires financial oversight by the state comptroller, approval by the state Public Authority Control Board (PACB) - as was done in prior convention center financing, and a comprehensive review of financing and design plans by the comptroller and the legislature.

The Assembly's legislation also provides for the opportunity of women and minority owned businesses to fully participate in the convention center's construction.

Another key difference from the governor's bill is that the Assembly proposal continues community involvement in the convention center expansion through the Community Advisory Committee.

In announcing the convention center bill, Silver made it clear that the legislation advanced by the Assembly today deals specifically with the convention center project and allows it to move forward.

He continued that efforts being considered to build a sports stadium in the convention center vicinity and requiring state funding or legislative action would have to be subject to the New York City Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the Assembly to proceed.

"Community review and input on development and planning issues have always been vitally important to the Assembly. We would expect no less of this type of open and public process for projects of this magnitude," said Silver.