Why Is David Gantt Still Running the Assembly Transpo Committee?

gantt.jpegThe Times published a great reminder today about last month’s bus camera vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee, which weakened the city’s plans for Bus Rapid Transit. The editorial page wonders why David Gantt, who for years has obstructed life-saving, transit-enhancing traffic enforcement measures, is still in charge of the committee:

Mr. Gantt is a Democratic assemblyman from Rochester. That’s the
Rochester that is 333 miles from Times Square. He has long controlled
the State Assembly’s Transportation Committee with an iron fist,
micromanaging New York City’s traffic from afar and for bewildering
reasons. At one point this year, when journalists asked him why he was
blocking a particular city traffic bill, he said: “That’s for me to
know and you to find out.” So much for transparency in Albany.

It makes no sense for one upstate legislator to strangle progress — and
safety — in New York City. This should be a matter decided by New
York’s mayor and City Council. Since it is not, Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver and his Democratic majority should replace committee
chairmen like Mr. Gantt who have clearly been there too long. If he
won’t, the voters should.

That raises a good question. Letting Gantt ride roughshod over New York City’s interests probably isn’t winning over Silver’s constituents in the 64th District, or anyone else in the five boroughs. Why is the Speaker allowing the safety of his city’s streets and the efficiency of its buses to be compromised by a Rochester legislator any longer?

If that’s a question that puzzles you too, here’s a group you may want to join.

  • Anyone who pays attention to Albany politics knows that the Assembly is just as corrupt as the Senate, and that the Democratic machine is just as messed up as the Republican one.

    Because of this, when the Albany Project was launched, I was full of hope that it would bring about some change in the Assembly, not just the Senate. Sadly, it seems to be all about winning the Senate for the Democrats, and not willing to go after corrupt Democrats. So much for openness and democracy.

  • peter

    Uhm. perhaps Gantt is chair, because upstate has transportation needs, roads, subways, buses, airports, taxis TOO.

    Wow you are arrogant and uninformed, no wonder you can’t get any of your initiatives moving.

  • Peter: In that case, show me an example of Gantt fighting for Rochester’s transportation needs.

  • Ace

    why do traffic regulations require legislative approval?

  • Peter: Talk about arrogant and uninformed. Can’t get any initiatives moving? Been reading any news sources lately, like, say, a newspaper?

    An absolutely stunning number of initiatives are either on the ground or taking shape here in NYC (come visit sometime). It’s just that some of the critical elements that, unwisely, Albany must allow the city to do within the city’s own limits, are being held up by, often, Assembly Democrats.

    Specific to Gantt, it seems that he’s only helping upstate transportation when there’s something in it for him and his constituents take a back seat.

    Got an arrogant and uninformed reply?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Peter: In that case, show me an example of Gantt fighting for Rochester’s transportation needs.”

    I mentioned I believe yesterday that Rochester’s transit agency is CUTTING its fare from $1.25 to $1.00. How is that possible? Could the distribution of state aid for mass transit have anything to do with it?

    Now it’s one thing for Rochester, which has lower income overall, to have a lower fare than NYC, but for it to possibly get extra money to cut fares while our transit system melts down is an insult. Moreover, I’m not sure the average bus rider is any poorer in Rochester than in New York City.

  • YA

    Let’s not forget that NYC’s own Ivan Lafayette also voted against the cameras. Good riddance.

  • Hilary

    How is it that NYC has the two most powerful forces in the Assembly (Silver and Farrell) and yet still gets jerked around by the state on transportation?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “How is it that NYC has the two most powerful forces in the Assembly (Silver and Farrell) and yet still gets jerked around by the state on transportation?”

    What do you mean New York City? There is only a small share of the population that lives in New York City that counts for anything. THEY have Silver and Farrell.

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