Time to act on Aqueduct!

We demand that Governor David Paterson choose a  vendor to install and operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct  Race Track. The deadline of January 8, 2010, set by the Governor himself, has passed. Present economic and fiscal circumstances, so eloquently and frequently cited by the Governor, cry out for action. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has confirmed that "New York's state cash flow is at historically low levels." The economic revitalization of our local economy needs a push start, and Aqueduct can provide that impetus. This process has dragged on far too long without a decision.

We are throwing away $1,000,000.00 (One Million dollars) a day in lost revenues for New York State. Procrastination is indeed the thief of time, and in this case, vitally needed cash for the State. Moreover, despite not selecting a bidder thus far, the Governor has already added the $200 million upfront payment toward this year's budget deficit, and we now run the risk of losing that sum for this fiscal year.

Thousands of jobs, both short term construction-related, and long term jobs within the facility, could have already been created during the course of this past year during an extremely difficult economic climate impacting our residents had this decision been made in a timely manner.

The New York Racing Association, which controls horse racing at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, has complained that it is running out of cash and would be forced to cancel the Belmont Stakes in June if it does not receive funds  from the state. NYRA is set to receive a portion of VLT funds once  the machines are up and running.

Ongoing decisions taken must include consultation with Community Board 10, and the more than 130,000 residents of  our area, who live in Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill South, and Howard Beach. Contract arbitration with any union organizing racino workers and other workers' rights must be  observed.

Our community is ready to move forward and accept the most qualified of the four bidders in contention for the 

contract- Aqueduct Entertainment Group, the Peebles Corp., SL Green and Penn National Gaming.

Time to act, Governor!


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