It was a little surprising to see Upper Manhattan Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, one of the few state electeds to support congestion pricing without reservation, come out so strongly against the Ravitch MTA rescue plan, and the tolling of East and Harlem River bridges in particular. Now we have this recent post from an e-mail list for Inwood parents:
I spoke to Espaillat’s office. They insisted that people in the area would rather have higher subway fares and reduced service than tolled bridges. They said the merchants in the area and the car services oppose the bridge tolls.
When MTA doomsday service cuts go into effect, residents of Espaillat’s district [PDF] will lose the Bx20 and M18 buses, will see reduced service on the M100 and M2, and will face longer wait times on the A and 1 trains. As an Upper Manhattanite myself, I find it very hard to believe that most of my neighbors — roughly 80 percent of whom don’t own cars — are willing to accept more crowded buses and trains, which will be fewer in number and cost more to board, so drivers from Westchester can continue to drive through Inwood and Washington Heights for free.
It seems that either Espaillat really has his finger on the pulse of the public, or the merchants and car services have Espaillat’s ear. We have a message in with his office in hopes of confirming which is true.