Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dean of the Motorists

As YNN reported yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has come out in defense of the NYC motorists against a revised Bloomberg plan to tax cars coming into Manhattan: "Despite his near $1 million investment in the Senate GOP during last year’s election cycle, Mayor Bloomberg isn’t finding much support from Majority Leader Dean Skelos for one of his long-standing signature projects: Congestion pricing. The DN’s Adam Lisberg reported NYC pols are quietly revisiting the idea of charging motorists to drive into Manhattan as a method of generating revenue for the perpetually cash-strapped MTA. Supporters, like Sen. Dan Squadron, a Brooklyn Democrat and Bloomberg ally, are calling the idea “traffic pricing,” but it’s still the same concept."

Gee, what's with all of this re-branding, you know, like calling government spending an, "investment." But one of NY State's most famous governors had a better description of this kind of, well, euphemistic BS. As Governor Al Smith would have said: "No matter how you slice it, it’s still baloney."

In this case, no matter what you call it, it is still a tax: "Skelos told reporters he was opposed to congestion pricing when it died in the Legislature back in 2008 (largely thanks to the Assembly Democrats, although it was unclear the measure had sufficient support to pass in the Senate at the time, too) and hasn’t changed his stance. The majority leader said congestion pricing is “just another tax,” adding he wouldn’t likely reconsider that position even if backers offered to trade it for rescinding the MTA payroll tax – a key Senate GOP issue and one that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he’s willing to consider (assuming another revenue source is found to support mass transit)."

But all of this indicates that Mike Bloomberg simply won't take no for an answer-and refuses to do so even while the blatant hypocrisy of his hawking this policy is plain to anyone who takes a look at the mayor's economic development policies-not to mention his support for the car generating Walmonster. Put simply, if the mayor was really for a genuine policy of sustainability, he would not have put huge malls along the Major Deegan and Belt Parkway-courtesy of the Related Companies-and most certainly wouldn't have stuck 500,000 square feet of retail at the so-called Flushing Commons Mall in the middle of that community's downtown.

Of course, pricey traffic is the quintessential feature of the mayor's legacy development at Willets Point-a project that would include the largest mall in the city and would also generate 80,000 car and truck trips a day. So, to echo the Bronx woman who-in commenting on the mayor's belief that women are safe walking the streets in every neighborhood of the city-told the Daily News, "Bloomberg's trippin'..."

That he be-and as far as Manhattan is concerned, it is the only area of the city that the mayor is auto-immune. For the rest of the city it's simply, "Wake up and smell the exhaust."