Friday, October 05, 2007

Send in the Accountants

In this morning's Crain's In$ider, the newsletter reports on the fluctuating dollar figures being thrown around concerning the supposed fiscal pay-off from a congestion tax. This is an extremely serious issue, one that we have commented on before by saying that the entire scheme was badly in need of a forensic accountant.

As Crain's points out, the MTA's Lee Sander and the mayor himself have widely disparate takes on the congestion tax take; "Estimates vary widely about how much money could be raised by congestion pricing fees. MTA chief Lee Sander is saying $100 million to $200 million a year,
while the Bloomberg administration has been estimating $325 million to $350 million."

This is all rather dizzying, and points to the haste and bad faith that has gone into the selling of the congestion scheme. Even the congestion tax fans are calling for a more accurate estimate from the Congestion Commission: "The pro-congestion pricing group Campaign for New York’s Future wrote to the panel asking it to refine the numbers to come up with a more reliable estimate."

Now, if the revenue numbers are in dispute, can you imagine what that says about the congestion data itself? We have a suspicion that the old reliable 6.3% ain't gonna stand up to any independent scrutiny. Which gets us back to our original argument: this entire production needs to be subject to an EIS that examines, not only the environmental issues, but the economic and social ones as well.