Rhetorically speaking, it’s often easier to be against something than to stand in support of it. This could be why, with one or two possible exceptions, the political players in the MTA "doomsday" drama have so far gained the most media attention by, say, shouting down bridge tolls (Yay!) or getting a shoe shine (Boo!). Some prominent electeds, despite the grave importance of the issue at hand, have to this point largely stayed out of it — even those who, when they had congestion pricing to kick around, could scarcely be found without a microphone or camera in spittling distance.
So here’s a snapshot of where officials who have taken a stand are currently standing, with notable silences noted. Feel free to add to the list.
- City Comptroller William Thompson, 2009 mayoral candidate, has urged the Ravitch Commission to recommend a new vehicle registration fee to benefit the MTA, along with a reinstatement of the commuter tax.
- Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer supports reviving the commuter tax. In a recent newsletter Stringer described a fare hike as a "regressive tax increase."
- Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz opposes East River bridge tolls. Poke.
- City Council Member John Liu, who chairs that body’s transportation
committee, supports an unspecified broad-based tax and a federal
bailout for the MTA. He opposes East River bridge tolls.
- City Council Members Eric Goia and David Yassky believe the MTA should be subject to an examination of finances and assets before instituting a fare hike.
- Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports the commuter tax and bridge tolls (take that, Crain’s), but says the city will not increase its contribution to the MTA.
- Congressman Anthony Weiner, 2009 mayoral candidate, is against East River bridge tolls. Weiner also opposed congestion pricing in lieu of
yet-to-be-delivered federal funds.
- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who allowed congestion pricing to
die without a vote, reportedly favors reinstating the commuter tax he
also helped kill in 1999.
- Assembly Member Richard Brodsky
acknowledges the MTA needs money, but has kept quiet on where it should
come from. Even when asked.
Meanwhile, anti-congestion pricing activists Jeffrey Dinowitz, Hakeem Jeffries, Denny Farrell, Rory Lancman and Jeff Klein, and fence-sitters Deborah Glick, Joan Millman, Dick Gottfried and Micah Kellner are, to our knowledge, MIA on the MTA meltdown.