Brodsky Represents NYC’s Wealthiest Car Commuters

brodsky.jpgHere is a complete copy of Assembly Member Richard Brodsky’s "Interim Report and Inquiry" into New York City’s long-term planning and congestion pricing proposals. Brodsky, you may recall, is the powerful state lawmaker with the moneybag full of parking industry contributions.

Brodsky’s 20-page report concludes:

The Mayor deserves great credit for thinking seriously about the problems of congestion and inadequate mass transit funding. Congestion and capital mass transit funding are serious unaddressed problems which require action by state and city government.

But… 

The congestion pricing legislation is not now in
a form which can be enacted.

And even though Manhattan-bound drive-to-work constituents in Brodsky’s Westchester district earn on average $176,231
annually
—the highest of any New York county in the metropolitan area,
Brodsky is actually looking out for the little guy…

The revenues raised by the Mayor’s proposal disproportionately and
unfairly target people of low and moderate income, especially those who
live in the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.

Brodsky also says…

The City has no plan to improve mass transit prior to the
implementation of congestion pricing.

Forget that the entire point of getting state approval by July 16 is to win a $500 million grant from the federal government that would go towards immediate transit improvements, particularly to improve bus service in the outer boroughs.

  • Adam White

    A big Boo to Richard Brodsky and the rest of his self-interested, pandering, obstructionist cronies. May his consious awake and advise him to get his head out of the sand.

  • galvo

    this is the same guy that is the port authority contact for the George Washington bridge south side bike path repeated closings.
    he did Nada, wouldn’t even answer a email inquiry.

  • Jmc

    $16,500 in bribes can derail a gigantic plan to improve the lives of millions. Amazing how cheap legislators are! This is why we need independent, self-financed candidates for office, like Bloomberg.

    I say we implement his congestion rationing program with one day for even numbers and one day for odd numbers, and we give Brodsky a license plate that ends in the chinese characters ?? (undermine,ruin,corrupt).

  • You think Richard Brodsky takes public transportation? Pshaw.

    Self-serving fat cat.

  • Jon Graf

    Is anyone surprised by this pathetic move? This guy loves hearing himself talk and he sure did a lot of it at the hearings in Albany. He completely ignored Bloomberg and Doctoroff’s responses. It was clear from the beginning that he wasn’t going to budge. Albany is so completely dysfunctional apparently you need to be against any kind of change.

    Who does this guy think he is to even offer an alternative to NYC traffic policy when he represents Westchester? We surely did not vote for him.

  • JF

    These people are a pathetic excuse for Democrats. Can’t we get Al Gore or some actual environmentalist Democrats to give them a call?

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    He probably thinks he is Chair of the Corporations Committee in the Assembly one of the chief overseers of the MTA. Or something like that, self-serving fat cat though he may be.

    And as to jmc “This is why we need independent, self-financed candidates for office, like Bloomberg.” call for more aristocracy in a country that is rapidly hardening and deepening its class system. The only reason you can’t vote for Mayor Mike again is that term limits were bought by another “independent, self-financed candidates for office” (read spoiled rich kid Ron Lauder).

    What we need to pass this legislation is not more well meaning rich people but some politicians with skin in the game, committed to actually improving the transportation system, willing and able to run for office with that program. Right now term limits stands in the way of that. Bloomberg may be independent but he has shown a tin ear for NY politics in this whole episode. This should have been part of his last campaign for office, it wasn’t. And, he may have fumbled the issue so badly that the next Mayor will ride into office on the four wheeled back lash.

  • jmc

    Niccolo, I agree that only allowing rich people to be leaders is a bad system, the problem is that the campaign finance system basically corrupts everyone in power to the interests of the wealthy and influential. I guess we could pay politicians a larger amount, but really it’s hard to pay someone adequately when they have a role in shaping the use of such a HUGE quantity of public money, and siphoning it to people who give them kickbacks. I don’t know if there’s a (reasonable) amount of payment that can stop it, as the VP of the US for example is rich, and already paid a lot, yet loves to give exclusive contracts to his friends. Let’s look at someone who talks about ideals a lot, like Barack Obama. He receives massive contributions from the coal industry. Do you think he’s really going to do anything to limit or close coal power plants? He might speak about ideals (all well and good things) but I doubt he’ll bite the hand that feeds him.

    Interestingly, Bloomberg is following a policy (congestion pricing) that was also followed by “Red” Ken Livingstone, who definitely wasn’t doing it as a secret plot to allow the rich to take over London. Both men are known as people who haven’t given up their principles. Whether that’s true or not is a matter of opinion, of course.

    I think my visceral response to Brodsky comes from that first Legislative hearing when it was clear that he either didn’t read the report on congestion pricing or did and wanted to fabricate shortcomings and red herrings and sow fear, uncertainty and doubt. I can understand someone who just hears about the plan secondhand voicing such fears but someone in charge of a committee who reads a report should really do their job better.

  • jmnyc

    Brodsky is anti-NYC so this is unsurprising. He was a major mover behind the repeal of the commuter tax and has opposed additional education dollars as mandated under CFE. He is also a complete blowhard who was a twice unsuccessful candidate for Westchester County Exec. I wonder why.

    His congestion rationing idea benefits people with 2 cars (mainly suburbanites) and is also hugely discriminatory to anyone who has a one day need to have a car in Congestion Zone but happens to have a plate with the wrong day. What does that person do? At least under Congestion Pricing, that person would be able to bring their car in as long as they paid the fee.

  • Spud Spudly

    If his constituents really have an average income of $175,000 then Brodsky should be giving his full support to congestion pricing.

  • momos

    Shelly Silver must be thrilled. Brodsky does the public bashing that leads to headlines in all the major dailies stating “Congestion Pricing Less Likely to Pass.” Creating this perception further establishes Silver as the one pol who can make or break the deal — perfect for when he makes his backdoor demands of Bloomberg, Spitzer and Bruno at the 11th hour. And Brodsky can go back to his wealthy Westchester constituents and parking industry backers and say he did everything he could to stop it.

    It’s enough to make a cynic wonder if this wasn’t the plan in the first place. After all, Brodsky’s report is based on testimony at the Assembly Hearings — and Shelly Silver is the guy who signed off on the list of witnesses.

    But perish the thought, what with Albany’s long tradition of integrity and above-board policymaking.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I guess I reject the implicit assumption that campaign contribution corruption is the determining factor in the behavior of the State Legislature. Regardless of how we may feel about rule by a wealthy aristocracy. When it comes to wealthy guys ruling us Bloomberg is one of my favorites, much better than the Ron Lauder, inherited wealth types. Bloomberg brings plenty of entrepreneurial savvy to the job that is refreshing but lost as we construct a strict class society issue by issue.

    The point about “Red” Ken is well taken. There are two chief differnces. One structural, where Red Ken lives and breathes in a Parliamentary system with relatively strong parties so that when he acted he was able to bring along a majority in London city government. Bloomberg world is entirely different, he is an “independent”. In a sense this makes him a Kris Kristofferson adherent “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loose”. Like many of us Bloomberg is a captive of his own character. When he went to Albany without the overt support of the City Council (Christine Quinn hiding in the bushes until the last minute) he did so as a Republican (In Name Only perhaps) leader of a Democratic city. And, the concept was that the purity of thought that his millions allow him and the propoganda purchases he can make would bring the parties apparatchiks along. Hasn’t happened yet but we hold our breath.

    Second, there are the practical expectations created by the exercise of electoral democracy. Red Ken ran for office with congestion pricing as part of his program. At the time he said that his Administration was on the line and would stand or fall with congestion pricing, so important and central it was to his politics. Bloomberg on the other hand opened up NYC to big box stores with their attendant parking lots and exit ramps (even WalMart he welcomed), left the Hudson Yards development with 26,000 extra parking spaces, and has failed to fully fund the MTA capital and operating plans while accumulating a 5 Billion Dollar surplus. Now, as he sheds his Republican skin, thin as it may in fact be, approaching the end of his term, he has discovered the crucial synergy between urban density and mass transit.

    He won the last election 70/30. If he had sold CP during the election he would have still won, maybe 55/45, that would have been a swing of 15 points but he would have been able to declare a mandate for it. As is he is making lots of headlines but probably plowing the field for the pro-congestion political forces that will follow him. And, he would have actually reinforced his independent thinker image by sailing against the wind and making difficult positions work for the citizens. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

  • ceci

    While I am all for protecting the environment and for a greener New York City, the are ramifications to this congestion pricing plan which are not being discussed and which concern me.
    Economic consequences which are going to have an impact on the middle class most of all. Expect prices to go up for all kind of goods and services. How about the fact EZPass would become compulsory forcing millions to provide banking information? Is this not an assault on our privacy and civil liberties. How about the fact Bloomberg’s plan, unlike the one in London, would also charge not only for entering the zone, but also for leaving it. No wonder, people are against it.

  • “ramifications to this congestion pricing plan which are not being discussed”

    If only. Read any comment thread on this weblog. Let me guess… you own a car, live in the congestion zone, and consider yourself middle class? Only two of these things are possible at once.

  • ceci

    If congestion pricing goes through, see prices go up for goods and services all around. In the end, only the elite will able to afford to live in Manhattan. Hey, being an EZPass subscriber will be compulsory, not elective as until now. Big brother rules.

    “We will begin immediately to prepare for the installation of needed equipment to make our traffic plan a reality.” Mayor Bloomberg

    From the above statement, it is clear talk of setting-up a commission to study the plan is meaningless. They are going ahead with the toll booths not waiting for any study results or even legislature votes. What a farce!

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