Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    Bloomberg: Walder walked into disaster, MTA toast.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/12/09/2009-12-09_good_luck_mr_mta.html

    I must admit all his ridiculous promises sounded like a downsized version of Sander’s. No wonder he got confirmed. Now the legislature can blame him publicly, thank him for absorbing it privately.

    From the same article, “man of the people,” exemplar of his generation, and respected hero in Albany Gene Russianoff Lindsay calls for using borrowed capital funds and maintenance funds to keep service going and fares low.

    “We are not using rebuilding funds,” spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. “We can’t afford to compromise our maintenance and rebuilding program.”

    Good luck with that, because sucking money out of a future no one cares about is that age group’s MO. And then grandfathering existing beneficiaries when the collapse occurs (let’s call it “realism,” like Tier V) or moving to somewhere that has yet to be plundered. Expect the attempt to defer consequences to become increasingly desperate.

    Sorry Gene, the drastic fare reductions that made you famous are part of the short term gains for you that will lead to long term losses for everyone someday. The fares are still far lower than the were adujusted for inflation. Add in the excess payments to contracts, state and local transit funding diverted to tax cuts and Medicaid, TWU pension enhancements and opposition to productivity, and here we are.

    Why is the TWU angry? They have managed to rape and pillage the transit system again, but do not feel they got their fair share of the booty. So they want another chance to rape and pillage the corpse.

  • Larry Littlefield

    And by the way, who says Albany is incompetent.

    They get a good salary, perks and pensions for virtually no work, and get treated like heroes for handing out small sums of money back to people (some) people that (all of them) paid in taxes.

    And the interests that keep them in office by helping to eliminate contested elections are enriched to a far greater extent than either their needs or their social contributions justify.

    I’d say that, looking at it through the prism of their values rather than ours, they are nearly as competent as Wall Street.

  • Here’s an article from today’s Metro about MTA buses:
    http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/12/09/07/3240-82/index.xml

    The headline on the front page on the actual paper issue this morning was a charming “Rather Be Dead than Ride a Bus?”

  • I agree with Larry. The State Legislature is very competent at being greedy, corrupt and elitist.

  • Car Free Nation

    I took the bus today for the first time in months (I usually ride my bike). I had to wait for half an hour and then three buses were grouped together.

    Of course this was all caused by the extra automobile traffic because of the rain. What I don’t understand is why buses don’t get priority on the street. Here we are, 40 of us sitting there, while 20 autos with 1 person in each, take up all the room. There should be bus bulbs at every stops, and rather than the buses waiting for the cars, the cars should be waiting for the buses to load and unload. No car should move faster than a bus on the same street.

    Every public official should be required to take a bus to work once a week to understand the trouble first hand. That will fix the problem.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Streetsblog missed some good news yesterday that I just ran into (in the commercial real estate press).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/realestate/commercial/09bike.html

    “One company that does offer employees showers, bicycle parking and even a bike-sharing program is the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather North America. When it moved to a new office on 11th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, bike parking was a priority, said Gunther Schumacher, Ogilvy’s chief operating officer. The company’s previous landlord had been unwilling to accommodate bikes, as were public garages that Ogilvy had approached about renting space.”

    “Now, the agency has racks for 150 bikes in its own garage, including 50 that Ogilvy bought for employees to ride to meetings or run errands.”

    “On an average day, about 75 people cycle to work, Mr. Schumacher said. “We’re in a very young industry, and we depend on people who have fresh new ideas on a daily basis,” he said. “The segment of our population that responds well to this is the segment we rely on for our future, so it’s all about investing in the future.”

    Here’s the theme. Federal or (in New York) state government, bad. Local government and do it yourself, could be good or at least acceptable.