Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Congestion Plan Getting IRTible

Well, well. It now appears that the expected overload that will occur on the city's subways should the mayor's congestion plan go into effect, will cause a burden that the current system will not be able to handle. Don't take our word for this, or put it with the normal doom and gloom that critics are wont to employ, just ask the head of the Transit Authority.

As the NY Times is reporting this morning, Howard Roberts the TA head, is telling one and all that his system is overloaded and will be so for the foreseeable future: "' From my point of view this is scary...This is scary in the sense that right now, on a lot of these lines, we're several years and a big construction project away from being able to provide what I consider adequate service. We're constrained.'"

As Roberts went on to say, "'There's no room at the inn.'" Clearly, the cart of congestion pricing has been placed before the horse of transit improvement, and has many riders tell us the system needs more trains. To make the logical leap from that assumption to the support of the $600 million a year congestion tax makes little sense. Yet, this is precisely what the mayor and his minions continue to do-yesterday down in Washington making a show for the federal dollars that no one knows will ever be forthcoming.

The mass transit overcrowding in New York has reached critical proportions. Roberts tells the NY Daily News that, "'To the extent that people are diverted to the subway system and they want to ride the nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and E (lines), it's bad news.'" Now the mayor's spokesman says that the city agrees with this assessment and that is why it is promoting its tax scheme.

If that's the case then we need to ask whether it makes sense to impose an expensive, complicated-and unfair-tax system in order to improve the city's mass transit infrastructure? And, do we need to impose the tax years before riders will be able to see any relief? Certainly, as the NY Sun reports this morning, we shouldn't be seeing the mayor's folks putting contracts out to bid for a plan that hasn't been approved.

All of which means that the mayor's rush to enact this plan is unwise and should be rejected. This entire process has been characterized by an almost total suspension of disbelief among editorial writers and so-called good government groups. The mayor has harnessed the anti-motorist sentiment of much of the environmental community and, in the dishonest name of clean air, looks to whack middle class and working class New Yorkers with yet another tax on living in the city.