Weiner Says Pricing Shows “Stunning Political Naivete”

The Daily Politics reports that Congressman Anthony Weiner is ramping up for an imminent mayoral bid by crediting Michael Bloomberg with "put[ting] the last nail in the coffin to the notion that New York City is ungovernable." But at the same time, during an appearance at Kingsborough Community College today, Weiner tried to score points off congestion pricing by framing it as a plan that an experienced politician like himself would steer clear of.

Weiner, who opposes the plan to charge cars $8 to enter Manhattan during peak hours, said the only reason the U.S. Department of Transportation wants to give New York City $350 million to start a congestion pricing pilot program is so it can eventually wiggle out of funding mass transit entirely.

"This is where it matters that you have a certain amount of political acumen," Weiner said. "The moment we have $200 million in revenue … I’m going to be hearing from colleagues in Washington, ‘You need $200 million less.’"

Weiner scoffed at "unelected boards and agencies" in New York, including a separate authority that would run the city’s congestion pricing plan and parcel out the money.

"You honestly believe [Senate Majority Leader] Joe Bruno is going to pass this without getting a piece of the action for Rensselaer or wherever he’s from?," Weiner said. "It shows a level of political naiveté that is stunning."

  • JF

    Yeeesh. Do Weiner and Liu spend all their time hanging out at some bar in Forest Hills and making fun of people for political naivete? Is that their only argument against congestion pricing? I really don’t give a shit who’s naive. I just want to see someone who’s got the vision and the guts to get cars off our streets, and it ain’t Weiner.

  • Weiner is really dumb to say that Bloomberg has “put the last nail in the coffin to the notion that New York City is ungovernable.”

    He wants to say that Bloomberg has killed the idea that New York in governable.

    Instead, he is stupid enough to say that Bloomberg has killed the idea that New York is ungovernable.

  • mjr

    Wiener’s argument about Washington wiggling out of paying for transit is very similar to the one made by Hillary Clinton’s proxy at the Rudin Center’s revealing Presidential ‘candidate’ debate. It might reflect an accurate assessment of the Bush administration’s interest in road pricing. But it broadly misses the mark about congestion pricing itself. Mr. Wiener should devote his considerable energy to fighting the corrupt, anti-coastal policies of George Bush, rather than the robust intellectual traditions of environmental justice, rational choice theory, and American pragmatism. If he actually backs in Federal support for transit funding and not just goodies for DC-37, couldn’t he accomplish that better in Washington than as Mayor?

  • Good thing Christine Quinn is running for mayor too!

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Federal funding works like this, the more the locality puts up the more the Feds put up. Anthony knows this but none of his opponents have made this point preferring to let him get away with the red herring that someone else will pay for everything.

    The “someone else will pay” argument is the flip side of the “there is no such thing as a lock-box” argument. That argument often involves fuzzy citations of the history of lotto money distributions and education funding. It is all meant to sow distrust and suspicion and an us vs. them mentality.

    Distrust in our city government, state government and federal government is the low hanging fruit of populism.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Weiner had better hope congestion pricing passes. Because if it doesn’t, during his run for Mayor all the virtriol of the consequences will be directed at him.

    “You made the fares go up again!” “You made services get cut!” “You made taxes go up!” “You made deferred maintenance happen!” “Where are the $billions you promised if congestion pricing was voted down? You lied!”

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I wish the consequences were that quick to materialize Larry. You more than most should know that it will take years for the system to deteriorate. What this is about is system expansion and the mega projects. Weiner could easily do two terms, spending a lot of time blaming the MTA and the Oil Patch before the system falls completely apart. Transportation history is written more by disasters and collapses (Minneapolis bridges) than it is by creative vision and planning.

  • Rhone

    If our federal transportation funding takes a hit, New Yorkers should ask Weiner how he could let that happen.

    Right now he is one of two NYC reps on the House transportation committee.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (If our federal transportation funding takes a hit, New Yorkers should ask Weiner how he could let that happen.)

    Not good enough. The next MTA capital plan is going to be proposed at $28 billion over five years. We’ll need billions extra with or without CP, which would provide perhaps $2.5 billion over that time. How about it Weiner?

  • Joe Quinn

    The Q Solution:

    Rickshaws!

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