In his last minute pitch for a congestion tax the mayor got, well, kind of hysterical. As the NY Sun reports: "Either you're going to do it or you're not. And if they're not, then I think we don't have a future," Mr. Bloomberg said." Count us in as part of the future shock crowd; frankly we can't see the desperate urgency as any more than the mayor trying to get his legacy burnished-in other words, it's all about him. We'll say more about this later today when we come back from our Wal-Mart victory press conference in Ramapo.
While it's good that Mayor Mike is demonstrating a high level of passion about something, we suspect that the urgency of all of this is affecting his judgment. A congestion tax is not, as the mayor argues, a visionary response to a serious problem; and clearly the failure to enact the tax is not foreclosing on a bright future.
And what's up with his Weiner rant? Here's his apoplectic response to Weiner's accusation that the congestion tax was a Bush strategy to transfer the cost of transportation from federal dollars to local user fees: "During a speech on congestion pricing, he attacked an opponent of the plan, Rep. Anthony Weiner of Queens, who has argued that the federal government would send less money to the city if it generated its own revenue through congestion pricing. The mayor described Mr. Weiner's warnings as "insanity."
Maybe Mike has invested a little too much emotional energy into this pipe dream; so much so that we worry about what will happen when the congestion plan implodes. And the more this drags on, the more it looks as if there's little chance it will pass-the new governor is holding back, not willing it seems to barter his capitol for the mayor's needs.
And trust us, the more the mayor keeps up his gloom and doom, the less likely any plan will be coming forth: "He warned of severe long-term consequences if the plan is not implemented, calling the alternatives to passing congestion pricing "calamitous," and said: "Without this, I don't see any opportunities for major mass transit improvements."
So it appears as if once again the mayor will have failed in his efforts to negotiate with his political equals; after failing to pre-sell the program with legislative leaders (and remember his press conference on the Gansevoort Recycling Center that spit in the face of Speaker Silver?), he then tried to Bogart everyone. Only at the 11th hour is the diplomacy that should have been present from the beginning being utilized. As the late Johnny Most used to say after a Sam Jones jump shot left his hand: "Too late!"