Monday, April 07, 2008

Mayor Culpa

With the mayor facing traffic tax doom today it looks as if his patience is wearing thin. As the NY Times is reporting today, he's warning legislators that they will be facing a voter backlash if they don't approve his tax plan: "As the plan remained in limbo in Albany, Mr. Bloomberg publicly appealed for it on Sunday. Before speaking at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn, the mayor warned that legislators who voted against the plan would have to explain their actions to the public. “They’re going to be responsible to their constituents as to why they don’t have buses,” Mr. Bloomberg said to reporters. “When we stop work on the Second Avenue subway, they’re the ones that are going to have to answer.”

We suppose that he really hasn't looked carefully at the polls on this. For all of the supposed support for the plan if the money gets earmarked for mass transit, there is a comparable skepticism that the bucks will ever be used properly. And the impact on the middle class car commuter is driving a great deal of the opposition. As the NY Daily News tells us this morning: "The plan's opponents say it will hurt less affluent drivers without mass transit options, while providing no guarantee that the proceeds will make trains, buses and subways better."

Some of this is driven home in a companion story in the News today that focuses on the difficulty of one commuter living in a two fare zone: "Dan Tubridy, a Manhattan bar owner who lives in Rockaway Park, Queens, knows exactly what congestion pricing will cost him: an additional hour and six minutes. If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way in Albany to charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan, the 31-year-old newlywed expects his commute to more than triple as he trades his Pontiac Aztek for the train. What was a 35-to-40-minute drive into Manhattan will be replaced by nearly two hours on the subway — with three transfers."

Maybe we will sit down after this fiasco ends, and really truly develop a sensible and comprehensive traffic congestion plan. That is, after the mayor and his bicycle riding buddies are sent packing.