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Xanadu Bail Out: Ugly Deal for Taxpayers

Date : Fri, 9 Jul 2010 11:53:36 -0400

For Immediate Release
July 9, 2010 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9800

Xanadu Bail Out: Ugly Deal for Taxpayers

Trenton -- At a time when the state is broke and towns are laying of police and fire and hospitals are closing, the Christie Administration wants to throw more public money at Xanadu. Xanadu is a national symbol of pay to play and incompetence. New Jersey will be throwing millions more good money after bad.

During the campaign, candidate Christie criticized this project as one of the worse deals in the state's history. Now he is trying to bail it out with more tax money.

"Xanadu is proving, once again, to be a taxpayer money pit," said Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club Director.

Under this proposal, Xanadu would be able to keep 75% of its tax revenue to subsidize developers to pay for this monstrosity. This subsidy will be at least $180 million. Instead of giving rebates to seniors, we're giving rebates to billionaire developers. Instead of giving money for school aid, we're giving out sprawl fare.

Xanadu is going to need services from the towns in the area - police, fire and ambulance. Now the state is going to impose 2% property tax cap and leave it up to towns to deal with providing these services. Between the cap and tax breaks, there won't be any money, further squeezing these services and homeowners' wallets.

"The only thing uglier than the building is this ugly deal that subsidizes billionaire developers at a time when we're cutting essential services for the people of New Jersey," Tittel said. "Rebates for the rich developers, not our seniors."

The state just robbed $158 million from the Clean Energy Fund which would help people better insulate their homes, buy renewable energy and create 4,000 jobs. The state is borrowing money for the Transportation Trust Fund for transportation projects but subsidizing roads for Xanadu. Parks are being cut by 40% but money is being given to a giant mall. Now the state is going to bail out Xanadu on top of the well over $900 million in public subsidies and tax breaks its already gotten:

* $100,000,000 of roadway improvements * $31,000,000 of taxpayer tolls for turnpike access Xanadu * $150,000,000 for a rail line to Xanadu * $300,000,000 in property tax exemptions The Xanadu project, which comprises 6.5 million square feet of office and commercial space, will generate more than 120,000 cars a day, gridlocking an area of the state already overburdened with traffic. It has already filled in priority wetlands and will become, when completed, the largest producer of greenhouse gas in the state. Xanadu will also add storm water pollution, impacting the Hackensack River, and use more energy and produce more greenhouse gases than any building in New Jersey. When it rains millions of tons of nonpoint pollutants - suspended solids, oil and petroleum, lead and heavy metals, asbestos, antifreeze and other chemicals - will end up in the Hackensack River, either untreated or partially treated. In addition to a lack of stormwater infrastructure, Xanadu did not do onsite sewage treatment. When inflows of rainwater combine with sewage flows from Xanadu the Bergen County sewer system will put partially treated sewage discharge into the river system. Xanadu also filled in seven acres of EPA priority wetlands and part of an estuary, putting direct discharge of fill into important waters. In addition, 39 barrels of toxic waste were found on the Xanadu site that taxpayers had to pay to remove.

"This project is so bad that even the Bush Administration - both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - opposed it," noted Tittel.

"Even with all these subsidies, it doesn't mean that Xanadu will work. New Jersey needs another mall like it needs another Super Fund site. Not only is this site toxic, it's toxic to the taxpayers," Tittel said.

###

Christine Guhl Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 Tel: (609) 656-7612 Fax: (609) 656-7618 christine.guhl_at_sierraclub.org

Received on 2010-07-09 08:53:36

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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