Letter to the Editor – Hudson Yards

To the Editor:

Contrary to the views expressed in “Another Reason to Hate Hudson Yards” (April 16), it is a seriously flawed economic premise to assume that people holding those jobs should live at, or right next to, where they work.  How many readers can claim they live in the same census tract as their job site? Or that such boundaries are even a factor when considering an available, good-paying job?

Qualifying preferred EB-5 Projects based on only tiny, single census tracts is all wrong when you consider projects like Hudson Yards have far-reaching impacts that help workers living far beyond even Manhattan.  When you’re unemployed, a $3.00 commute each way for 30-45 minutes by subway or bus isn’t going to prevent you from taking a job there. That’s the way labor markets actually work.

Commuting data show that Hudson Yards has created thousands of jobs and benefitted areas of high unemployment all over the city, including Harlem.  Modern supply-chains mean that Hudson Yards has also benefitted economically distressed areas throughout the rest of the New York region and beyond.

Yes, the EB-5 program, through which Hudson Yards was partially financed, needs some reform.  But past EB-5 investment activity has shown that tens of billions of investment dollars and hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs are “at-risk” without reasonable reforms. A reasonable reform package would keep sound labor market economics and economic development policy at the fore, along with meeting the needs of workers wherever they actually live—unlike what the story’s author proposed.

Jeffrey B. Carr
Burlington, Vt.

The writer is president of Economic & Policy Resources, Inc.