Friday, May 11, 2007

Taxing Credulity

As would be expected, the DMI has come out strongly in support of the mayor's congestion pricing plan. We say expected, because the plan amounts to a tax on commuters, distributors and small businesses, and DMI has generally never met a tax it didn't see as justified. In fact, the Institute is holding a forum on the congestion pricing topic next Friday down at NYU, a summit that is co-sponsored by the NYC Partnership, a strong advocate of the plan. It doesn't appear that any naysayers are on the official agenda.

Adding additional spice to the event will be London Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, the person who implemented the London congestion pricing plan. Gavron initially was put up by the Labour Party to run for mayor, but stepped aside when Kenny the Red Livingston was readmitted to the party. We'd certainly like to know just how Gavron, a child of Holocaust survivors, justifies serving alongside of a Jew-baiting anti-Semite like Livingstone.

What is missing from the DMI post is any degree of intellectual depth; there is simply no evaluation of the potential costs of the mayor's proposal and there is a unreflected, and reflexive genuflection to the virtues of mass transit. There is, as usual, a class-based emphasis on the fact that the pricing tax only hits the 5% minority of those commuters who drive to work. That may be true, but the fact that a tax only effects a minority doesn't, ipso facto, mean that the policy is therefore without any faults.

The DMI, along with all the rest of the mayor's clacks, also fails to point out the extent to which the tax on the CBD avoids any amelioration of the serious traffic congestion being stimulated by the numerous mega-projects sponsored by the current administration. It also lacks any real policy analysis of the numerous ways in which the plan could serious hamper outer borough residents who lack any access to good mass transit alternatives.

A belated correction here is in order. I've been informed that the post in question here is actually a guest blogger's from Transportation Alternatives. The substance of our comments doesn't change but if DMI's position differs we'd love to see to what extent.