Check this out, from New York Times...
Mayor's Proposal Envisions Lower Manhattan as an Urban Hamlet
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
ayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday offered his vision of the future of Lower Manhattan: a collection of neighborhoods stitched together by large parks and broad pedestrian walkways, with a direct mass transit link to Kennedy Airport via a new tunnel under the East River.
Under Mr. Bloomberg's plan, Lower Manhattan would essentially be transformed from an ailing financial center with pockets of residential developments into an urban hamlet of housing, schools, libraries and movie theaters, as well as other businesses, some of which would benefit from a generous new federal tax package.
The plan calls for changing numerous streets, turning West Street, for example, into "a promenade lined with 700 trees, a Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es or Commonwealth Avenue for Lower Manhattan," Mr. Bloomberg said to a riveted audience of business leaders and politicians. Along the East River, a new waterfront park would stretch to the South Street Seaport.
While many of the ideas have already been proposed by various governmental agencies involved in the rebuilding process, the mayor's plan pulled those elements together and added to them, creating one broad and hugely ambitious package with a $10.6 billion price tag.
"Moving forward," Mr. Bloomberg said, in a speech to the Association for a Better New York, "Lower Manhattan must become an even more vibrant global hub of culture, and commerce, a live-and-work-and-visit community for the world. It is our future. It is the world's second home."
Much of the $10.6 billion, however, is already coveted by other state agencies. Mr. Bloomberg said the plan would be paid for using $5.9 billion of the $21 billion that the federal government promised to New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as 9/11-related insurance money and the proceeds from the sale of development rights and from Liberty Bonds authorized for new housing downtown.
He said no additional money would be required to pay for the projects until at least 2009, and even then, if extra dollars were needed, only federal and state money would be required, not any new city taxes.
Mr. Bloomberg reserved only 20 seconds of his 31-minute speech to describe his ideas for the trade center site, saying simply that "the restored streets would be a memorial that would put a physical shape to our grief and to our hopes for the future, and give us somewhere we can come together to share our thoughts and reflections of how Sept. 11th affected our lives."
The mayor's plan is in many ways a direct challenge to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which have led the rebuilding efforts at ground zero.
For example, Mr. Bloomberg began his remarks deriding the original World Trade Center, saying, "The twin towers' voracious appetite for tenants weakened the entire downtown real estate market," a clear poke at the plans released this fall by the development corporation, which called for substantial commercial development at the site.
Mr. Bloomberg also called for the remaining $1.3 billion from the development corporation's coffers, which the corporation â€” as well as the Empire State Development Corporation â€” has eyed for other uses. The mayor said nothing about burying West Street, which many transportation experts have called for as part of revitalizing downtown; Mr. Bloomberg's transportation proposal focuses principally on his dream to link Lower Manhattan to New York's airports.
Louis R. Tomson, the president of the development corporation and a close ally of Gov. George E. Pataki, said yesterday that the success of Mr. Bloomberg's plan would rely in part on getting the approval of agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which regulate much of the 9/11-related money sought by Mr. Bloomberg.
"The challenge will be how to reach agreement on husbanding the resources and applying them," Mr. Tomson said, "and how to do that in a way that meets the requirements of those who have the responsibilities to oversee these funds." Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg is most likely to ultimately find himself in a position of negotiating his vision with other state agencies.