Friday, April 04, 2008

Wolf Tickets for the Mayor

In this morning's NY Sun, the paper's Andrew Wolf advises Shelly Silver to hold firm in his opposition to the congestion tax, reminding us that for all of the excoriation Shelly received on hid stadium opposition, his decision now holds up pretty well-particularly since congestion has been magically elevated into the major policy issue: "At lot of people were fit to be tied when the speaker quashed the stadium plan, but today the Speaker looks smart for that decision. I believe that a similarly bold move on congestion pricing will ultimately be celebrated in the same way"

At the same time Wolf takes a shot at the Bronx Council delegation, and county leader Rivera, for flouting the will of the borough: "Congestion pricing is wildly unpopular in the Bronx, but a deal was struck with the county Democratic boss, Jose Rivera, that saved the day.
The last time the mayor made a deal with Mr. Rivera, it cost taxpayers $250-million in increased water taxes to lure Bronx officials with park project pork, so that they would drop their opposition to a controversial multi-billion dollar water filtration plant. Before Monday there were only two supporters among the Bronx ."

Wolf also goes over some of the details of the congestion taxing scheme, rightly pointing out the outrageous administrative costs involved, as well as the elaborate fining mechanism that will undoubtedly metastasize at the expense of the poorest auto commuters: " The London fees are now around $16. Unless we can somehow be wildly more efficient than they are, and no municipal project here that I'm familiar with ever is, our $8 fee will quickly be eaten up by cost overruns. And there's a dirty secret about the revenues. It isn't the $8 that will bring in the revenue that we are promised will "revolutionize" mass transit, but, as with the quarters put in parking meters, the fines levied against those who didn't pay. In London, these account for about a third of all gross revenue."

So the ball is in Silver's court, and we're hopeful that Shelly will continue the 256 year tradition of free travel between the Bronx and Manhattan: "That is why the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, has such a big choice to make on congestion pricing. He can, once again, be a giant killer and quash the congestion tax scheme being advanced by Mayor Bloomberg, as he did with the Olympic/Jets Stadium plan, another pet project of the mayor's." Monday is D-Day.