It’s Alive. It’s Dead. It’s Three Men in a Room!

Erik Engquist at Crain’s says a potential deal is in the works that would nix Gov. Spitzer’s call for campaign finance reform and give Albany legislators a long-sought pay raise in return for congestion pricing approval.

An Assembly Member that I spoke with this morning, however, says that congestion pricing is totally dead or, as the Assembly Member put it, "There’s no legislation to vote on, no one is planning on returning to Albany, it’s in ‘Nowheresville.’" Mayor Bloomberg’s political people, the legislator says, are "in denial."

Meanwhile, Chad Marlow at the Public Advocacy Group reminds us of the awesome powers of Three Men in a Room and how these powers may render moot the objections of dozens of state legislators. Marlow’s 30-second civics lesson is as follows:

In almost every other legislature in the country, when a bill is
proposed, only the original sponsor of the legislation has the ability to pull that bill and prevent it from coming to a vote. In Albany, the original sponsor can pull his or her bill but so can the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Majority leader. So, regardless of how many of a legislator’s colleagues support the bill, if
the leader doesn’t support the legislator, it will never come to a vote. This gives the Silver and Bruno "veto plus" powers.
When the governor vetos a bill there’s an opportunity for the legislature to override the veto. But when the Leader pulls your bill,
that’s it. It’s done. That’s why Albany legislators are, essentially, forced to fall in line with Silver and Bruno. If they don’t, they may never get to pass another piece of legislation.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Paul Newell on Congestion Pricing and Reforming Albany

|
This is the second installment of Streetsblog’s interview with Paul Newell, candidate for State Assembly in the 64th District, who’s challenging Speaker Sheldon Silver in the Democratic primary this September. In this segment, Newell addresses some of the issues that are fresh in the minds of everyone who followed the death of congestion pricing in […]

Revenge of the Free Riders

|
From Transportation Alternatives’ Spring 2008 magazine: The biggest hurdle congestion pricing faced was the simple fact that the people required to enact the legislation were the ones who stood to pay the most because of it. On Monday, April 7, Sheldon Silver walked out of a closed door meeting of State Assembly Democrats and announced […]

Pricing Round-Up: Dems Conference in Albany

|
Assembly Democrats met behind closed doors last night to gauge their collective sentiment on congestion pricing. According to the Post, only seven of the 36 legislators who spoke during the meeting expressed support, but the one who matters most, Shelly Silver, remains uncommitted:  Silver, who has not voiced a public position on the issue, said […]