Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bloomberg Plans, Albany Doesn't Laugh

AS the NY Sun and the NY Times are reporting this morning, the mayor sojourned in Albany yesterday and made some headway in selling his controversial congestion pricing plan. In particular, the Senate's Majority Leader Joe Bruno was particularly receptive since he is going out of his way to tout Bloomberg as the next GOP gubernatoirial candidate.

Unquestionably, however, the plan has a long way to go before it receives legislative approval. With a scant 37 days left, it leaves little time for the two chambers to duly consider and pass such a set of complex and, at least with congestion pricing, controversial ideas.

We do agree with the NY Daily News that editorializes this morning that the mayor deserves credit for bring the discussion to the forefront. After criticizing Speaker Quinn and Comptroller Thompson for their silence (and Weiner for his opposition-if rather obliquely), the paper says, "They don't seem to realize that the mayor is doing them and the city a huge favor by forcing this very big idea onto the public agenda."

Agreed. Unlike many elected officials who can't seem to think much past their next quarterly filing, Bloomberg does offer a refreshing contrast. That does not mean that the plan he has put forward is flawless. In addition, let's not forget that Weiner, while opposing congestion pricing, has made himself constructively part of the conversation.

At the same time we should also add, as today's Daily News 2009 mayoral poll highlights, that schools and housing are still the major concern of New York's voters. And at least with the schools there is clearly a great deal of room for improvement. It's always a good idea to plan, as long as we don't lose sight of the most pressing immediate needs that face the city.