NEW YORK -- A proposal for a $1.4 billion stadium for the New York Jets professional football team inched ahead on Thursday as the Empire State
Development Corp., the state's economic development agency, approved a general plan for the project.
The proposed stadium on Manhattan's West Side, which would also double as expanded convention space next to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, still
faces many hurdles before fans can root from a stadium along the Hudson River's shoreline.
The National Football League's Jets have committed to spending $800 million for the stadium, while the city and state have each ponied up $300
Proponents of the project, called the New York Sports and Convention Center, include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has touted the tax and
job benefits the city would gain from the project.
The mayor also is counting on the proposal as a centerpiece in the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
But opponents, including the New York Association for Better Choices, a coalition of elected officials, community leaders, residents and businesses,
say the stadium would create unnecessary traffic and parking problems and that the land could be better used for other needs.
"The group is also alarmed by commitments to dedicate at least $600 million in public funds to the stadium project, at a time when schools are
failing, firehouses are closing and other critical city functions are underfunded," Whit Clay, a spokesman for the coalition, said on Thursday.
Other obstacles still stand in the path for the Jets, who hope to start construction on the stadium early next year.
The facility would be built on a platform above railyards currently owned by state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but a settlement on the
land's worth still needs to be resolved between the city and the MTA.
The project is going through final environmental reviews, and public hearings will be held on the project.
The city council also needs to sanction the plan, which would require neighborhood rezoning.