Divided legislators, chaotic decision process contribute to Aqueduct delays, insiders say

November 23, 2009 06:24PM

Eight years, and many will-they-won’t-they stories, after former New York Governor George Pataki first granted permission for electronic slot machines to be built at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, a winning bid to develop the track has yet to be picked. Despite stalled debate on the issue between Governor David Paterson and key state legislators, the financial incentive to pick a winner is certainly there, the New York Times reported. The track could bring in over $1 million a day, while the mandatory $200 million payment to the state from the winning developer could help with the state’s budget deficit. Although it’s unclear why the decision — which was original supposed to be announced by Aug. 1 — hasn’t been made yet, some speculate that the main decision-makers in the project, including the governor, the State Senate and the State Assembly, are simply unable to reach a consensus on which bidder they prefer. J. Gary Pretlow, a State Assembly member, said that the lack of clear cut selection guidelines has made the decision process more difficult. “There are no parameters,” Pretlow said. “The problem is that the process was flawed from its inception. Everyone should have been operating with common guidelines.”