Now Mr. Silverstein wants to shake the tree again. In March, as Charles V. Bagli reported in The New York Times, he asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to guarantee up to $1.2 billion of his construction loans. The authority’s board could vote on the proposal this month. As chutzpah, this was impressive. As public policy, it was less salutary. Kenneth Lipper is a board member of the Port Authority, a former deputy mayor under Edward I. Koch, an investment banker and a novelist with a keen eye for currents of power, municipal and financial. In an interview on Monday, he described how the board had signed off this winter on a capital plan, carefully assigning priority to rebuilt bridges, a new terminal at La Guardia Airport and — Mr. Lipper’s personal favorite — the rebuilding of that corroding pile of metal and concrete that is the Port Authority bus station in Midtown. No choice was easy. The Port Authority’s bond rating is sterling, which keeps its interest rates low. In the end, its rating is backed by hundreds of millions of toll-paying commuters. Then Mr. Lipper saw the request from Mr. Silverstein. “Am I in ‘Alice in Wonderland’?” he recalled thinking. “I wanted to get a modern bus terminal built and we’re talking about putting $1.2 billion into a private developer, in which he gets the gain and we take the hit? “Is it the role of an agency representing taxpayers and toll payers to speculate in real estate?”
Focus on the core mission, which does not include endless subsidies to Larry Silverstein.