Friday, May 11, 2007

Maybe Not So Smart

The NY Sun is reporting today that the mayor's grandiose traffic plans may be running into some resistance up in Albany. It seems that the proposed SMART authority may create a jurisdictional battle with the MTA; and that some state officials view the proposed authority as little more than a power grab by the city. As State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky points out, "It's essentially about control, not policy. What they're really saying is that the decision making over regional transportation should be made by the city."

All of which could spell trouble because the SMART authority is the vehicle (no pun intended) for the financing of all of the transportation projects that comprise the backbone of the mayor's sustainability vision. In addition, MTA folks are worrying that the SMART money is geared only to construction, which would leave the operating expenses for the new train lines as the MTA's responsibility.

None of this is insurmountable if all sides feel that it is something that is worth doing. It does indicate, however, that there are some serious details that need to be ironed out, something that is complicated by the nature of the political opposition being generated against the mayor's plan.

As Crain's In$ider reports this morning, congestion pricing foes have scheduled a number of press events starting next week. The events will focus on a variety of opponents' rationales for viewing the mayor's plan unfavorably. It will be difficult, given the operational problems and the political opposition, for the mayor to achieve a swift, positive, resolution to his policy initiatives.