One of those moments of bipartisan consensus that Gov. Christie likes to brag about came this spring, when both parties came together to bail out the Xanadu mall with up to $800 million in public funds. The money will bail out a project that is not only figuratively underwater, but also literally sinking into the Meadowlands swamps. The State Senate voted 36-0 and Assembly 71-6 back in June to approve $200 million of the $800 million package.
The mall will be called “American Dream Meadowlands” – which led KendalJames to point out a couple months back that perhaps in today’s age of bailouts, getting free taxpayer money for a megamall is the real American Dream.
It turns out that this bipartisan consensus is wildly unpopular, with 58 percent opposed and only 31 percent approving. The opposition is bipartisan – coming from both liberals and conservatives, according to the pollster.
It makes you wonder – how does a development get $800 million in public funds in a time when such funds are incredibly scarce and our urban and suburban schools are struggling, homestead tax rebates are cut, and transit fares and tolls are going way up? And how does a bipartisan consensus form around a project that neither party’s base supports?