Sports Authority Rubberstamps $1.15 Billion for American Dream Mall

The Sports and Exposition Authority has approved a package of $1.15 billion in bonds today to build the American Dream mall in the Meadowlands. This decision comes after Department of Community Affairs approved a $800 million in bonds sale that would help fund the completion of the $5 billion America Dream Mall. This funding is in addition to the $350 million from the Economic Development Authority tax break given last year totaling $1.15 billion in taxpayer money. This reason the NJSEA and DCA are stepping in is because the Bergen County Improvement Authority had promised to issue the bonds, but would not be able to approve within the 30-60-day window. The shopping and entertainment project is part of the ongoing plan to develop the Meadowlands into a commercialized region.

 

“New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority today has pick pocketed the taxpayers by giving the American Dream mall the keys to the treasury. They acted like bobble heads when they approved one of the biggest sellouts in state history of $1.15 billion. This deal is more toxic than a Superfund Site. The Sports Authority were only supposed to build sports facilities, convention centers and football fields. Former DEP Commissioner Richard Sullivan even said there are plenty of places for a mall, the Meadowlands should be a world class sports center, not another mall,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club. “The American Dream Mall should really be called the American Scheme. By rubberstamping $1.15 billion in bonds, it will cost New Jersey hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Instead of paying their fair share of taxes, this dirty deal allows American Dream mall to pay off their bonds in lieu of taxes. That means New Jersey will be losing revenue because the mall will cost essential services.”

 

The biggest corporate subsidies in the state went to the American Dream with tax subsidies that are now reaching over $1.15 billion. This is especially troubling since the state cannot even fund Brownfield remediation projects to clean up toxic sites around the state; however, they are providing millions for another mall. Before the recession there were proposals for more than 25 million square feet of office and industrial development as well as thousands of apartment units in and around the Meadowlands. Now it has become a huge financial scheme that will cost taxpayer money.

 

“New Jersey is already in a fiscal hole, but this will make the hole deeper than the Grand Canyon. While the Transportation Trust Fund is broke, we are using public financing for a mall? There’s $1.15 billion for the American Dream mega-mall but no money to fix the lead in our drinking water, build schools, or fix combined sewer overflow? Municipalities could be using the money to finance solar on homes or offshore wind power,”” said Jeff Tittel. “They want to gamble in the Meadowlands, but we already gambled with Xanadu and we lost. Banks and financial markets are clearly trying to stay away from this project because it an American Nightmare. The Public Finance Authority in Wisconsin is the conduit for these bonds because they cannot get anyone to manage them here. East Rutherford and Bergen County Improvement Authority both bailed out, now they are getting the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority to sign off on this cheesy deal.”

 

 

The American Dream itself will significantly increase traffic in the region by opening this area up to more congestion and pollution. The American Dream project, which comprises 7.1 million square feet of office and commercial space, will generate more than 150,000 cars a day, gridlocking an area of the state already overburdened with traffic.  Everyday traffic will be like game day at Giants Stadium proposing to allow gambling here will make this area a traffic nightmare.

 

“What happens to the traffic in the region if on a Saturday people are going to the racetrack, shoppers are coming to the American Dream, and there is a Saturday football game at the Meadowlands? Commuter traffic will be backed up into the Port Authority bus terminal and Route 3 will be a parking lot,” said Jeff Tittel. 

 

The Meadowlands is an oasis of nature being an environmentally sensitive area in one of the most developed places anywhere in the country. In the Meadowlands you can be kayaking between salt grass and then turn the corner to see the New York skyline. There are migratory birds flying over the New Jersey Turnpike. The Meadowlands is a very important environmentally sensitive area in the most densely populated part of the state. Its resources are important for flood control, fisheries, and migratory birds. Even though it has its toxic legacy the contaminated sites and landfills are being cleaned up and it is getting better, but now overdevelopment is a big threat. The wetlands in the Meadowlands should not be paved over for an unnecessary megamall.

 

“The American Dream will be a nightmare for the environment and the people of the Meadowlands. The American Dream complex in Meadowlands will add more unnecessary development, pollution and congestion in an already environmentally sensitive and heavily trafficked area. The commuters may be caught between a rock and a Hard Rock when it comes to getting home from work,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Instead of the American Dream, this project should be called the American Scheme.”

 

The meeting took place on Thursday, August 25, 2016 -1:30 p.m at the Two DeKorte Park Plaza in Lyndhurst, NJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hunterdon County News  www.thehunterdoncountynews.com covers Hunterdon, Hunterdon News, Hunterdon County News, New Jersey Hunterdon County, Hunterdon Schools, Hunterdon Central, North Hunterdon, Hunterdon County Library, Hunterdon County Medical Center, Alexandria Township, Bethlehem Township, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Tewksbury, Readington,  Union Township, Lebanon Township, Califon, Raritan Township, Lambertville, East Amwell, West Amwell, Frenchtown, Delaware Township, Flemington, High Bridge, Holland Township, Hunterdon News, Hunterdon County News, My Hunterdon, Hunterdon Restaurants, Hunterdon Businesses, Hunterdon Hospitals, Hunterdon Dentists, Hunterdon Lawyer, Hunterdon Courts, The New York Jets, The Somerset Patriots, The Hunterdon County Prosecutor, Hunterdon Real Estate, The Clinton House , The Clinton Fire Department , North Hunterdon High School, Voorhees High School, Hunterdon Central High School,

 

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