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Congestion Pricing

Wylde v. Brodsky on WNBC News Show

3:10 PM EDT on August 20, 2007

Yesterday on WNBC's "News Forum," Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City and congestion pricing panel appointee, went head-to-head with anti-pricing Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. While Brodsky once again recited the "tax on the working man" même chapter and verse, he failed, once again, to articulate an alternative plan to raise the money everyone agrees is necessary to shore up mass transit.

Here's a typical exchange, with host Jay DeDapper joining the fray. Note Wylde's comment at the end about free parking for government employees. A sign of changes to come?

DeDAPPER: Actually, wait, but I want to actually challenge you on this point of this drivers. Only 5 percent of the people commuting in from the boroughs, from the outer boroughs, are driving, so it's not a tax on everybody. It's not a tax on the 95 percent who take the buses and subways.

Mr. BRODSKY: It's not...

DeDAPPER: It's a tax on the 5 percent who feel like they've got to drive.

Mr. BRODSKY: That's correct. But those 5 percent...

DeDAPPER: So it's not a middle class tax or a tax on the poor...

Mr. BRODSKY: No, no, no.

DeDAPPER: It's a tax on the people who choose to drive.

Ms. WYLDE [sic]: And we did a survey--we did a survey of people...

Mr. BRODSKY: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Ms. WYLDE: Let me finish this point. We did a survey of those people who drive into the city for work, south of 60th Street, and we found that 83 percent said they drove out of choice, that they had good or better, faster public transit alternative. This is not a forced situation for even that 5 percent.

DeDAPPER: So...

Mr. BRODSKY: The commission will deal with these dueling studies, but wait a minute, it's a question...

Ms. WYLDE: It's not a dueling study. There's no study on the other side.

Mr. BRODSKY: The...(unintelligible)...data shows that the people who come in make--the average income is about $45,000, the ones who pay the full fee. The ones who escape the fee average $85,000. Now, you can call that what you want, but that's the depth--excuse me, the data.

Ms. WYLDE: And who are they? Who do they work for, Richard?

Mr. BRODSKY: One second.

Ms. WYLDE: They're working for government and have free parking.

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