Tuesday, April 08, 2008

NY Times Boosts Silver on Congestion

The NY Times, always looking out for the interests of average New Yorkers, give an unwitting boost to Assembly Speaker Silver today in its editorial: "After weeks of dithering as a deadline for the federal grant neared and then expired, Mr. Silver has now ensured the uncertain future of an already strained mass transit system and the continued growing problems of gridlock and tailpipe emissions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker."

Not content to end there, the Times then proceeds to show Silver the door: "The congestion-pricing plan was not perfect, but it improved over time. Mr. Silver did not seem to put any effort into addressing the concerns of its opponents or into moving his members to do the right thing.
He failed to put New Yorkers’ needs before his personal agenda. That makes him unworthy of his office."

If there's any one thing that can underscore the importance and public necessity of Shelly Silver's leadership, its condemnation from the paper that sees government as benign, and tax hikes on New Yorkers as salutary. The Times now forgets all of its condemnation of the MTA and the only thing it can think of is revenue enhancement.

As Metro points out today; "Yet yesterday’s real loser is the MTA, which stood to receive the toll revenue and will now likely face leaner times ahead. Even with congestion pricing, the MTA had a $9.5 billion hole in its five-year capital plan. Bonds backed by the fee would have provided $4.5 billion, while another $4 billion in bonds would be supported by new state funding and a local match." Or, as we would say, even with the latest fare hike the agency's profligate ways continue to lead to hemorrhaging money.

The congestion tax was a diversion from the real issue: MTA misfeasance; in fact, the tax would have postponed what should be the inevitable-a total reformulation of a public authority that doesn't understand the meaning of the word "public."