Thursday, December 06, 2007

Congestion Confusion

Crain's has been taking the lead on reporting how the whole congestion tax issue is generating acrimony and confusion. On Wednesday in the Insider the newsletter reported: "Although Mayor Mike Bloomberg objected Monday to moving the northern boundary of his proposed congestion-pricing zone to 60th Street from 86th Street, insiders say the administration is discussing changes.“We’re having pretty constructive dialogue,” says Marc Shaw, the former first deputy mayor who chairs the commission reshaping the mayor’s plan."

As well he should if he wants to get anything out of this process. In yesterday's NY Daily News the mayor tries to conflate the fare hike with his congestion tax, realizing that the hike is the one issue where his tax gets a fair hearing. As Bloomberg said in the News: "For the second time in two days, Mayor Bloomberg Tuesday criticized the MTA and said his congestion pricing proposal could reduce the need for a fare hike."

One of the mayor's allies on the Congestion Commission echoed this refrain: "Congestion pricing might have a better shot in Albany if fare hikes are halted, said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, a fare-hike foe." So, no matter what the fiscal reality in all of this, proponents of the congestion tax are trying to desperately latch on to the fare issue as their literal ticket to ride. In actuality, however, this is all fiscal sleight-of-hand, and the MTA can't be trusted with any more of the public's hard-earned money,