Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Finance Committee Approves Massive Cuts; Albany Still MIA (NYT, Post, News, SAS)
  • Marty "No Tolls!" Markowitz Decries "Punitive" Brooklyn Burden (Bklyn Eagle)
  • City Council Shoots Down Bloomberg-Backed Kingsbridge Armory Mall (NY1, NYT, News, GG, Crain’s)
  • Senate Committee Deliberates Expulsion of Convicted Abuser Monserrate (WNYC
  • Federal Judge Orders NYPD to Release Details of RNC Operation (NY1)
  • Department of Ed. Weighs New Deal With Inspector-Bribing Bus Company (News 1, 2, NYT)
  • Is Bloomberg Out to Dismantle Community Boards? (CNG)
  • Kentucky U.S. Senate Candidate Runs on Rail Plan (Transport Politic via Streetsblog.net)
  • America’s "Love Affair" With the Automobile: The Thrill Is Gone (MNN)
  • Someone Tell Washington: Feds to Require Nationwide Real-Time Traffic Info (Tennesseean)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • vnm

    Bloomberg predicts return of congestion pricing to help fund MTA (Liz Benjamin)

  • Larry Littlefield

    Whaddya mean massive cuts?

    These cuts aren’t scheduled to take place until July. By then the state will have passed a budget with a $6 billion deficit (they say now). What share of that will be the MTA? And it isn’t just general fund revenues — the state has diverted DEDICATED MTA taxes to upstate transit districts and suburban roads before.

    But the real damage comes later, when under current rules the city and state will have to admit their pensions are underfunded (even given ridiculous assumptions) and pony up and federal stimulus funds expire.

    More federal stimulus funds? With what money? Within two years the federal government is going to be doing what Governor Paterson is doing — cutting off funds to other levels of goverment to keep its own program (in this case Social Security, Medicare, defense, debt service and federal pensions) paid. This way the blame is shifted.

    All this generation of pols knows how to do is shift blame and sell the future. All I can see is a deal to enrich the pensions of those with seniority in exchange to for union agreements to defund the pensions for a while (at a massive cost later) and more borrowing. In this case, unlike the past 15 years, however, later is coming sooner and sooner.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Congestion pricing revenues, if and when it is passed, will go exclusively to debts and pensions added in the few years before it is passed, and nothing will be gained by it. It is the only the need to pay for debts and pensions, not transportation, that will allow it to be passed. Drivers will be paying tolls to prior generations.

    Everyone else too.

  • See and that’s the different Larry – I don’t only like congestion pricing for its revenue, I like it because it takes a lot of cars off the road in the most densely populated area of the country.

  • Re: “Is Bloomberg out to dismantle community boards?” I’m not sure I would shed any tears over their loss. My experience of our local community board is that they are a perfect forum for stonewalling and endless delay tactics when it comes to recommending livable streets improvements, which keeps us fighting the same battles over and over again with little progress. These are the same people who ignored a petition with hundreds of signatures for a greenmarket because they thought the loss of a few parking spaces for half a day each week was far more important than providing nutritious and sustainably grown food to the community. They have resisted repeated calls to install traffic calming treatments at a key subway entrance that people must cross a blind curve to access, ditto on a busy street where an elementary school is sited. If a community board is simply a forum for promoting automobile privileges at the expense of other initiatives that would truly improve the community for the majority of its residents, then I can’t use it.

  • Boris

    Larry,

    Looks like 2010 is your year. I suggest you publish a book in January-February. Do a speaking and book-signing tour in March-April. By then you’ll be the talk of the town, so set aside a month for TV and radio appearances. In June you can start your election campaign, and we’ll elect you governor in November.

    I’m not even joking about this. You just need a good PR manager. Think big. What’s stopping you? You don’t have to actually be 100% right; unlike Republican fear-mongering, your predictions are more or less true.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Looks like 2010 is your year.”

    I was a hell of a lot more motivated back when I thought there was still a chance to do something about it. And how many tickets can you sell to a “this sucks” tour?

    “My year” will come when all the damage has been done and it stops. Then perhaps we can come to grips with the situation, and start to try to rebuild from there, perhaps with new institutions, certainly with new people. That would be something to get motivated about.

    Thats’ why prolonging (while expanding) the agony drives me nuts — it just allows the grabbing and self delusion to continue. Let’s just have doomsday and get it over with!

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    I realize that it is streetblog’s function to focus on a relatively narrow set of issues. However, Urbanis’s litmus test approach is unsound. In essence, s/he states, ‘one of the 59 community boards did not act as I thought it should on some related issues of great concern to me, so they serve no purpose.’

    For every couple of community boards (+/-) that don’t get livable streets, I can show you one that does.

  • BicyclesOnly

    Urbanis–seek appointment to your community board this term! The deadline for applications is January 15.

  • jsd

    The problem with modern community boards is that they were born during the Moses era. We are still dealing with the consequences today. NIMBY’s hate freeways justifiably. But they also hate bike lanes and subway construction.

  • Yes, Marty Markowitz, champion of the MTA’s Vanderbilt Yard giveaway to Bruce Ratner, is upset about MTA service cuts.