Has Richard Brodsky Ever Paid a Subway Fare?

brodsky.jpgTelevision news legend Gabe Pressman hosted a debate on congestion pricing between Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Partnership for New York City President Kathy Wylde on Friday. The transcript is online at WNBC and it’s worth a read if you want to see Wylde catch Brodsky in a couple of small but significant mistruths and get a sense of the arguments that free motoring advocates are using to try to kill the Traffic Commission’s anti-gridlock plan.

The first such argument is a condensed version of the dramatic, impassioned plea-to-justice that Brodsky delivered at the final Congestion Mitigation Hearing a couple of weeks ago:

"For the first time in American history, someone is seriously proposing to charge the public for access to a public space."

It makes one wonder: When was the last time Brodsky paid a subway fare, bridge toll or train ticket out of his own pocket? Could it be that his windshield perspective on the city is so deeply ingrained that he doesn’t realize that of the hundreds of thousands of people walking around Manhattan’s traffic-choked public spaces every day — 85 percent of them — paid for "access" via mass transit?

Wylde countered:

Well, I said I live in Brooklyn and I have a choice. I can drive my car into Manhattan to work, in which case I pay nothing, or I can take the express bus, in which case I pay $9.00 a day. So right now we don’t have a fair system. The people who take the bus are paying more and stuck in traffic. The people who are taking the subways, we don’t have the resources we need to improve conditions. This program will raise almost a billion dollars between the federal grant that is promised if we pass this by March 31st and half a–half a billion dollars a year in revenues to support the system.

Towards the end of the interview, Brodsky got caught telling two apparent lies. First he claimed that local environmental organizations are not in favor of congestion pricing. Yet, he can’t name one. Then he said the Traffic Commission is calling for a repeal New York State’s environmental review laws. Not true. Wylde was having none of it:

Ms. WYLDE: Why is every environmental organization in the city and state in favor of this, then?

Mr. BRODSKY: They’re not.

Ms. WYLDE: They are. Name one that’s not in favor of this.

Mr. BRODSKY: Well…

Ms. WYLDE: Every health organization…

Mr. BRODSKY: Gabe…

PRESSMAN: Yeah.

Mr. BRODSKY: Help me, Gabe.

Ms. WYLDE: …every environmental organization, every business organization…

Mr. BRODSKY: I–all I want to do is just get my…

Ms. WYLDE: …are supporting this. This isn’t–it…

PRESSMAN: OK, well…

Mr. BRODSKY: But…

PRESSMAN: …and she raises a legitimate issue, which is why are the environmentalists for it if it’s so terrible?

Mr. BRODSKY: Well, I–some environmentalists are and some environmentalists are against it.

Ms. WYLDE: Who’s against it?

Mr. BRODSKY: You want organizational names?

Ms. WYLDE: In the environmental community?

Mr. BRODSKY: Yes. I–some of the witnesses who testified, very clearly, are against it, the chairman of the Assembly committee on the environment, among others.

Not letting the facts stand in his way, Brodsky continues:

Mr. BRODSKY: There’s a state law–I do, too. There’s a state law that says you have to do an environmental impact study before you approve a project.

PRESSMAN: Right.

Mr. BRODSKY: They want to repeal that law and say we’re going to approve the project, then do the study.

Ms. WYLDE: That is inaccurate. There’s no one calling to repeal that law.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Dear Mr. Brodsky: What Now?

|
In today’s Times, Richard Brodsky weighs in on the pitfalls of shortchanging capital needs in the face of the immediate MTA budget crisis. "The need for investment in the system is gargantuan," said Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester County who is chairman of a committee that oversees the authority. "Twenty-five years from […]

The Brodsky Alternative, Take Two: $6.50 to Enter a Cab

|
His license plate rationing scheme beloved by none, this afternoon Assemblyman Richard Brodsky offered his second congestion pricing alternative: raising the $2.50 taxi "drop charge" to $6.50, increasing fines for illegal parking and blocking the box, and further cutting the number of parking placards issued to government employees. Brodsky says the taxi fare hike alone […]

Wylde v. Brodsky on WNBC News Show

|
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 […]

Who is Richard Brodsky?

|
Matthew Schuerman offers up a brief but insightful profile of Westchester Assembly member Richard Brodsky in this week’s Observer. Who is the man who holds the keys to the future of New York City transportation policy? First of all, like many on the government payroll, he’s got his own ideas about parking policy: Already late […]

Brodsky Presents Dems With a Choice: God’s Love or Al D’Amato

|
Richard Brodsky is using this letter to rally opposition to congestion pricing. To get a sense of the issues that congestion pricing advocates will have to address in the State Assembly, download this letter that Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky circulated to his fellow Democrats yesterday. In it, Brodsky repeats the debunked claim that congestion pricing […]

Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission Opens for Business

|
Westchester Assembly member Richard Brodsky on Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal: "My problem is that I don’t understand what you’ve proposed." "This is going to be interesting," Straphangers Campaign Senior Staff Attorney Gene Russianoff said as he waited for the start of yesterday’s inaugural Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission meeting. "Usually with these things, the fix […]