Monday, September 17, 2007

NY Times' Farey Tale

In yesterday's NY Times the paper editorializes ("Softening the Blow") once again on the MTA's proposed fare hike. This appears to be part of a series where the paper gets to continually adjust its perspective as the situation dictates. Last month the Times had excoriated the agency for its historic inefficiencies, which led us to say: "In fact, the MTA is a monument to inefficiency and the absence of any real accountability. Certainly, given its governing charter, there is no reason for anyone living in NYC to grant the agency any credibility whatsoever."

So what are we to make of the fact that the Times is once again ignoring this cogent evaluation in its support of congestion pricing? After all, without the kind of agency overhaul that the paper suggests it wouldn't be very prudent to commit more funds-whether in the form of a fare hike or a congestion tax-to the very agency that the Times correctly has no confidence in.

And the Times goes on to further complicate its own convoluted reasoning when it goes on to say: "State lawmakers can strike a blow for more affordable mass transportation by voting by next March 31 to adopt Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan...The money would go to mass transit, either helping to hold down fares or supporting the M.T.A.’s rebuilding program." Let's not go there again.

How many times do we have to say that the congestion tax is earmarked, out of absolute necessity because of the poor state of the city's mass transit infrastructure, for the improvement of mass transit options? If these options aren't improved than there will literally be no room at the inn-i.e., no place to go for those taxed out of their cars. That being said, the amount of money a congestion tax would raise would fall far short of the providing the needed funds to address the transit system's immense infrastructure needs.

Which once again demonstrates what we have said-this entire plan is badly in need of a good forensic accountant, and shouldn't be dependent for evaluation on those (like the good editors at the Times) who really don't care how the money is earmarked because they start with absolutely zero concern for the city's tax payers.