Wylde v. Brodsky on WNBC News Show

Yesterday on WNBC’s "News Forum," Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City and congestion pricing panel appointee, went head-to-head with anti-pricing Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. While Brodsky once again recited the "tax on the working man" même chapter and verse, he failed, once again, to articulate an alternative plan to raise the money everyone agrees is necessary to shore up mass transit.

Here’s a typical exchange, with host Jay DeDapper joining the fray. Note Wylde’s comment at the end about free parking for government employees. A sign of changes to come?

DeDAPPER: Actually, wait, but I want to actually challenge you on this point of this drivers. Only 5 percent of the people commuting in from the boroughs, from the outer boroughs, are driving, so it’s not a tax on everybody. It’s not a tax on the 95 percent who take the buses and subways.

Mr. BRODSKY: It’s not…

DeDAPPER: It’s a tax on the 5 percent who feel like they’ve got to drive.

Mr. BRODSKY: That’s correct. But those 5 percent…

DeDAPPER: So it’s not a middle class tax or a tax on the poor…

Mr. BRODSKY: No, no, no.

DeDAPPER: It’s a tax on the people who choose to drive.

Ms. WYLDE [sic]: And we did a survey–we did a survey of people…

Mr. BRODSKY: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Ms. WYLDE: Let me finish this point. We did a survey of those people who drive into the city for work, south of 60th Street, and we found that 83 percent said they drove out of choice, that they had good or better, faster public transit alternative. This is not a forced situation for even that 5 percent.

DeDAPPER: So…

Mr. BRODSKY: The commission will deal with these dueling studies, but wait a minute, it’s a question…

Ms. WYLDE: It’s not a dueling study. There’s no study on the other side.

Mr. BRODSKY: The…(unintelligible)…data shows that the people who come in make–the average income is about $45,000, the ones who pay the full fee. The ones who escape the fee average $85,000. Now, you can call that what you want, but that’s the depth–excuse me, the data.

Ms. WYLDE: And who are they? Who do they work for, Richard?

Mr. BRODSKY: One second.

Ms. WYLDE: They’re working for government and have free parking.

  • psycholist

    Good interview, really shows the hollowness of Brodsky’s talking points. Basically he doesn’t want to lose his parking privileges.

  • a planner

    The parking garage owners aren’t getting much for their money, are they? At least in this excerpt, Brodsky comes off as a guy with nothing to stand on and no good points to make.

  • I finally understand how they are protraying this as “regressive”. Of the only 5% of NYC CBD commuters that drive to work, the folks that currently use the free bridges who are disproportionately poorer than the people who take the Triboro and tunnels. DUH! So he’s not really fighting for the middle class so much as he is fighting for the 1-2% of lower income drivers to continue to sit in traffic and drive alone rather than carpool and drive more quickly to their destination.

    And then K.Wylde brings up an excellent point. Who are these low income drivers that can afford to park in Manhattan? Public employees with free parking, +80% of whom have viable public transportation options.

    Game, set, match point IMHO. Brodsky’s argument does not hold water. He’s using progressive values about protecting the little guy to defend a small group of entitled motorists that right now effectively drive for free into the most congested zone in the metropolitan area, costing the rest of us billions each year in lost time, wages and higher prices for everything from construction costs to apples.

    And ultimately those people are just a smokescreen for the people he is most concerned about – his own wealth constituents that drive through the Bronx into Manhattan for free.

  • mork

    Is it me, or did Wylde totally kick Brodsky’s butt in this debate?

  • offgrid

    Anyone who happened to be stuck in traffic on avenues
    between the West Village and Liberty Street last Saturday
    afternoon must be wondering why, with all the other
    questions being asked about why two Ladder 5 firefighters
    died in the Deutsche Bank bldg, no reporters are asking
    questions about response time.

    Expecting Holland Tunnel Saturday midafternoon traffic
    to be light at this time of year, I was sorta surprised
    to find it at near-stand-still last Saturday. Trying
    to cross Varick at Houston on a bike, I watched FDNY
    vehicles of all sorts try long, noisily, and almost
    in vain to break through the near-impacted (think
    wisdom tooth) tunnel-bound traffic in Varick Street
    and Seventh Avenue South.

    One curiosity of the morning of 11 September 2001 was
    that at the same location, unlike last Saturday afternoon,
    sirens weren’t deafening. The emergency route to the WTC
    was and is West Street, and that was the route FDNY and
    NYPD vehicles took “9/11.”

    So what was different 8/18/07 at Varick and Houston,
    one block west of the firehouse that lost 11 on 9/11?

    Did the seemingly endless road work on West Houston
    prevent FDNY quick access to West Street?

    Or did tunnel-approach congestion contribute to the
    Deutsche Bank NYC firefighter death toll?

    Why aren’t reporters asking whether conditions went
    from bad to worse Saturday while FDNY equipment was
    stuck in tunnel traffic?

  • Additional tubes for the Holland Tunnel are necessary.

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