Add Micah Kellner’s name to the MTA doomsday scorecard. Yesterday, the Upper East Side Assembly member came out in favor of increasing license and registration fees for New York drivers as a transit revenue booster.
Under the Kellner plan, which originated with the non-profit Citizens Budget Commission, motorists would pay flat fees, rather than the weight-based assessments recently proposed by city comptroller William Thompson. Kellner says the new fees would raise $550 million a year — a little more than the income projected from tolls on the now "free" East River bridges.
On that note, Kellner’s press release includes this odd passage:
"Early indications suggest that the Ravitch Commission will announce Friday that tolls on the East River bridges are the centerpiece of their recommendations. This is a proposal that has been recycled time and again in each and every fiscal crisis but has always failed to gain the necessary support to be implemented. I don’t know why they think this time will be any different, but I am hopeful that the Governor’s office will look to other ideas like this one and reinstituting the commuter tax as he constructs his Executive budget."
Could it be that the idea of imposing East River bridge tolls is "recycled time and again" because it’s a proven and equitable course of action? Rather than take a stance for or against, Kellner characterizes new tolls as a non-starter — as if, as an elected state representative, he himself is in no position to influence the issue.
Sounds all too familiar.