Thank Goodness for Dear, Glorious Leader Sheldon Silver

Almost exactly one year ago, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser wrote a great little essay for the New York Sun’s op/ed page that asked the question, Does New York Suffer From A Soviet Traffic System?:

The Soviet approach to markets
set prices at some controlled price, and then let shortages ensue.
Under this system, millions wasted hours queuing and goods went to
consumers with the time to stand on line rather than to consumers who
valued the goods most. Today, you don’t need to go through the messy
process of getting a visa to Cuba or North Korea to see the social
costs of under-pricing. Right here in New York, we don’t charge
anything for using a particularly valuable resource: car access to
Manhattan streets.

Today, on the very same op/ed page, the Sun’s Jacob Gershman praises the New York State Assembly’s Soviet-style political apparatus for throwing a wrench into Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plans:

Thank goodness for Sheldon Silver. Mr. Silver, the obstructionist, the political merchant, the dour face of Albany’s status quo, is one of the few voices of caution in the intensifying battle over congestion pricing. Whatever the motive, Mr. Silver and one of his colleagues in the Assembly, Richard Brodsky, have been asking the right questions in a debate that could use a dose of reality.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I don’t know if a sneer at Cuba is really necessary. Could be that Cuba is using less carbons per capita than anywhere in the world, that should stand for something. Also, my friends who have been there claim that is very bicycle centric. Maybe critical mass should organize a rally there before Castro passes. Harvard scholars who write for the Sun (Sun and scholarship, contradiction in terms) should never be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    As Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute points out, the driving force behind the mayor’s plan is money. […]

    If money weren’t the object, they’d give the revenues back via a tax cut. […]

    “Before you impose new costs, manage better, use the money more efficiently,” said a historian of Mayor Giuliani’s administration, Fred Siegel.

    I don’t know if there’s a fuller version of Gelinas’ comments anywhere, but judging by this comment, she deserves to have her libertarian credentials revoked. Why is she opposed to charging drivers the full costs of commuting to Manhattan?

    The same thing for Fred Siegel as a historian: if he knows anything about Giuliani’s administration he’d know that Giuliani and Pataki cut the MTA budget deeply. I’m perfectly willing to believe that the MTA could use its money more efficiently, but at least return it to a reasonable level of funding before demanding that.

    It just shows how inconsistent some libertarians can be: any subsidy they don’t like can be reduced in the name of efficiency, but any subsidy they like is untouchable.


Odds and Ends

New York and six other cities have their federal grant application presentations online here at the Transportation Research Board. Contrary to congestion pricing opponents who claim the July 16 federal deadline is a ruse. Patrick Decorla-Souza at the FHWA confirms that all of the "other applicants either already have statutory authority, or the granting of […]

Daily News to Congestion Pricing Opponents: “Your Fault”

With higher gas prices pushing drivers onto the city’s trains and buses, the Daily News today blasted Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Dems for passing up the billions of dollars that congestion pricing would have brought to MTA coffers.  The trends prove that the theory of congestion pricing was valid: When the cost of driving […]

What’s the Secret to World-Class Transit Systems? Congestion Pricing

Top transportation officials from three global cities — London, Singapore and Stockholm — shared their experiences in expanding the use of transit at a panel at the Regional Plan Association’s annual conference last Friday. Eyeing those cities, it’s easy for New Yorkers to get jealous. “I was, in many ways, salivating,” said MTA chief Joe […]

Pin it on Shelly!

Plot the Pork. What would you like to add to Sheldon Silver’s Google map? With New York City’s mostly uncontested primary elections less than a week away, attention turns to the 64th State Assembly district in Lower Manhattan, where New York Times-endorsed insurgent Paul Newell is running a long-shot campaign against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. […]

$1 Billion From Port Authority Not Enough for Shelly Silver

On Saturday night, the congestion pricing bill in the State Senate was amended to include exemptions for low-income drivers and cars with handicapped plates. As expected, the changes also stipulated a way to make New Jersey drivers pay "their fair share." In the amended bill, the Port Authority is required to contribute $1 billion to […]