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Terminal plan runs aground

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Terminal plan runs aground

Critics blast delays on Red Hook project



The Brooklyn passenger ship terminal proposal is on a cruise to nowhere, critics have charged.

The city's plan for a new berth in Red Hook as the anchor in a strategy to keep cruise lines from departing to other cities isn't moving ahead, said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights).

The Economic Development Corp. "testified that they'd finish [the terminal] by next fall," said Yassky, head of the Council's Committee on Waterfronts. "I don't see how that's possible at the pace they're going."

But at a meeting with the Red Hook Civic Association this week, EDC officials assured residents the project was going full steam ahead.

"We're really hopeful the passenger ship terminal will provide good union jobs and business for the community," said John McGettrick, co-chairman of the Red Hook Civic Association.

If the new terminal isn't built soon, the city risks losing another cruise line - just as Royal Caribbean International left its outdated Manhattan West Side berth for new facilities in Bayonne, N.J., last year, Yassky said.

"I think that we're all concerned, given that it would appear the project is severely underfunded," said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, which includes Red Hook.

The price tag for the project is $150 million - which covers a new Brooklyn terminal at Pier 12 and updating the Manhattan berths - but the EDC's capital plan through next year includes a commitment of just $20.9 million.

EDC Vice President Kate Ascher gave testified at a hearing two months ago that a cruise terminal in Red Hook would be completed by next fall to allow for the Manhattan port to be improved.

Yassky and Councilmember Sara Gonzalez (D-Red Hook) wrote a letter to Ascher last month demanding a construction timetable. They also called on the cruise companies to employ Brooklyn residents. EDC never responded to the Council members or the News.

Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Lines agreed to pay the city $200 million in port charges and bring more than 12 million passengers to New York ports through 2017 in exchange for their new facilities.

The New York City cruise industry has boomed in the last few years. Cruise lines generated $600 million in business in the city this year, a figure that is expected to rise to $1.2 billion in 2014.

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