Undecided Council Members Speak Up at Pricing Hearing

jsk_aggarwala.jpg
Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala (left table) fielded questions this morning from City Council members, including Lew Fidler and Larry Seabrook.

At the first part of today’s congestion pricing hearings, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala, director of the Office for Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, fielded questions from the City Council’s nine-member State and Federal Legislation Committee. Several other Council members, including Speaker Christine Quinn, were also there to ask questions, and the chamber was packed with supporters of both pro- and anti-pricing groups.

The hearing followed word this morning that State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has introduced a congestion pricing bill in Albany — the same legislation that Governor Paterson announced on Friday, which is based on the recommendations of the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission. Quinn began the proceedings with a short but full-throated speech in support of pricing, saying, "The benefits so far outweigh any of the negatives, the concept of
inaction is simply, in my opinion, not an option. We have to seize this moment to
create a sustainable revenue source for mass transit." Then, after Sadik-Khan delivered her comments (which got big applause), the Council members started popping questions.

Two Council members who have not declared a position on pricing took part in the Q&A during the time I was there to observe. One was Larry Seabrook, a Bronx Democrat who has been identified as a possible swing vote on the committee. "How
are we going to say these projects won’t stay on the drawing board for
another 30 years?" he asked, referring to projects in the MTA capital plan targeted for the Bronx.

Sadik-Khan assured him about the lock box language in the current bill, adding, "I
don’t see any other way to fund the projects that your district so
desperately needs without the revenues from the congestion pricing program." Seabrook repeated his position that the lock box must be ironclad, but appeared satisfied that his concerns had been addressed, wrapping up by thanking the commissioner for considering his district.

The other undecided Council member was Tish James, who represents Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. James first asked if low-income New Yorkers, especially those who have to make trips to Manhattan hospitals, would receive any discount under the current plan. Aggarwala responded by pointing out that most New Yorkers rely on transit or for-hire vehicles to make hospital trips. The transit riders will receive better service, he said, and cab fare will be lower as a result of reduced travel times, yielding a de facto drop in the cost of hospital trips.

James also reiterated Anthony Weiner’s claim that pricing will give the federal government an excuse to reduce transit funding for New York, but seemed to back down from that position after Sadik-Khan and Aggarwala rebutted it. "What gave me consolation is that [the Bush] administration is a lame duck and their days are numbered," James said.

Stay tuned for more highlights, and don’t forget tonight’s hearing, when the council will receive public testimony.

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    Dave, it may be the end of your discussion, but certainly not mine.

    [from #27 above (Susan, tx)]
    “The $354 million from the Bush administration is a Trojan horse. It turns out that Congressman Weiner was right: The Washington Post reported this week that the plan is designed to privatize the roads and severely reduce or eliminate support for public transit. How is it that NONE of the NY papers are investigating this sneak attack? This unfair tax must be defeated, and the motives of its proponents exposed.”

    Dave,
    You’re still talking about the $354-million carrot? Careful now, you know what animal follows the carrot. In the last 7 years under Bloomberg, you have watched NYC lose $322-million in parking meter revenue alone from illegal parking permit abuse [Bruce Schaller 2006 report]. Congestion pricing is like trying to wash a towel in a dirty bucket. First things first, clean the bucket.

    I certainly agree about Giuliani and Kerik.

    For the edification of pro-CP’ers, if you haven’t already read it:
    A Washington Post article on the big congestion pricing picture.
    Letting the Market Drive Transportation
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/16/AR2008031603085.html?referrer=emailarticle

  • OMG congestion pricing is going to “not just to combat congestion but to upend the traditional way transportation projects are funded in this country. They believe that tolls paid by motorists, not tax dollars, should be used to construct and maintain roads.” This is terrible for livable streets and not at all in line with the big picture of having motorists clean their own dirty buckets—if only we had been edified last week, when this article was news!!! I’m calling Bloomberg on my green phone and I just hope it isn’t too late to call this thing off.

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    Dave,
    “A limited assault on the placard-abusing hordes out there is one thing but doing it city-wide will FAIL.”

    This is what happens when you swallow the blue pill (Matrix), everything stays the same. Hopefully, you will consider the red pill.

    I can only say this because I’ve seen things change over the years because some people consistently fought, and are still fighting, against placard abuse. Consideration of failure is, and was, never even considered, because conditions were/are so bad, the only direction the fight against placard abuse can go is toward improvement; i.e. NYPD towing NYPD placarded cars, ticketing, booting, and confiscating of placards.

    TO: Doc Barnett – please maintain the context.
    “Congestion pricing is like trying to wash a towel in a dirty bucket. First things first, clean the bucket.” This means you have to eliminate parking placard abuse BEFORE any consideration of congestion taxing, otherwise the 142,000 placard holders – mark my words – will find ways to slide down “the slippery slope” (Sadik-Khan at the oversight hearing) and get exemptions to congestion taxing, in which case congestion taxing is nullified.

    Take the red pill.

  • MD, your metaphors are terrible and I have no use for them. Pricing as proposed will serve as a deterrent to placard holders in spite of placard use and abuse; in fact it’s a greater disincentive for them than it is for people that pay to park, and they will be over-represented in 7-10% reduction of traffic. Next you will switch your argument to one of imaginary government exemptions from pricing, or you’ve already done that, but that’s not the same as saying that pricing has to be implemented before placard elimination.

    It’s also not the same as saying that plans must be opposed simply because federal funding is attached to them and donkeys like carrots. You’ve got a different, flimsy argument for every day of the week, or every hour I’m starting to think, and they’re all nothing but sparks from your private axe grinding of not wanting to pay to drive in and out of your own neighborhood. (A position that is at least reasonable, if unpersuasive to the vast majority that rarely if ever drives in or out of the zone.)

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    DocB
    Since you have a problem with metaphors, I’ll let someone else speak – Carl Rosenstein in Soho. As I recall, I was at a public hearing months ago at the Puffin gallery and he was a pro-price advocate at that time – here’s his view NOW, sans figurative language. http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_256/letterstotheeditor.html

  • Davis

    Well now, if a public policy eminence such as Carl Rosenstein of SoHo opposes congestion pricing in a free weekly newspaper letter to the editor, I don’t see how anyone could possible support it!

    Thank you very much Downtowner. It’s nice to see you finally supporting your arguments with some back-up material rather than repeating the placard stuff over and over and telling everyone, “mark my words.”

  • The only way I know to mark words embracing so many speculative and mutually-incompatible arguments, each flawed or irrelevant in its own special way, is with a large red X.

  • Spud Spudly

    I’ve seen that movie many times and I always wondered why Neo had to take any pill at all. Couldn’t he have just said nope, no pills for me thanks.

    Anyway, carry on…..

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/03/police-fire-unions-come-out-ag.html

    Doc,
    Maybe you will get it now – the unions coming out was only a matter of time. It should be obvious at this point – the placard issue needs to be dealt with FIRST, before CP. This further shows that the congestion pricing bill is shotty and NOT ready in its present form. Back to the dirty bucket (sorry, couldn’t help that one).

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/03/police-fire-unions-come-out-ag.html

    Davis,
    Carl Rosenstein was referenced only because he was pro-CP, he has seen the flaws, and is now opposing CP.

    Read this (above link), I’ve referenced a larger newspaper for you. The unions are asking for umpteen thousand EXEMPTIONS from CP. Then please review Sadik-Khan’s noncommital remarks on exemptions for the government sector at the oversight hearing on congestion pricing. Yes, the NYPD and Fire Dept unions are a “slippery slope” and CP is certainly not prepared for them. The unions consider CP a pay cut – unless of course they get their many thousands of EXEMPTIONS. Ask me if I’m surprised.

  • You think the police and fireman unions’ opposition to congestion pricing supports your position that pricing will not affect them? That we have to eliminate placards “FIRST” or else … what? Or else we will indirectly discontinue that privilege by implementing pricing that applies to everyone, which is precisely their complaint:

    “For decades firefighters and fire officers have been granted free parking privileges in the area around their assigned headquarters. This privilege was granted in part because of a recognition that our members must …”

    No I don’t “get” why you would enthusiastically link to a post that undermines your most cherished anti-pricing hobbyhorse, but I suspect it has something to do with dirty buckets and you not being able to help yourself.

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    Doc

    It is evident that CP is ill-prepared to deal with the unions who are now voicing opposition. If CP goes into effect, it will definitely affect the union rank and file right in their pockets because they supposedly won’t get exemptions. If CP goes the other way and actually grants “umpteen thousand exemptions”, it will nullify itself. Additionally, giving placard holders an exemption would be giving them a double-freebee because they will also abuse their parking privileges.

    “For decades firefighters and fire officers have been granted free parking privileges IN THE AREA AROUND THEIR ASSIGNED HEADQUARTERS…” (Caps added – Again, let’s keep this in context, please)

    Nobody has a gripe against police/fire dept when they are using their placards to actually work – on official business. Everything I have referred to in the past is regarding placard ABUSE, meaning government sector COMMUTERS, there is a huge difference.

    The Parking Survey study below was quietly released on a friday afternoon so no one would see it. Self-explanatory.

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2008/ny-parkingplacard.pdf

  • “If CP goes into effect, it will definitely affect the union rank and file right in their pockets because they supposedly won’t get exemptions.”

    And?

  • “If CP goes into effect, it will definitely affect the union rank and file right in their pockets because they supposedly won’t get exemptions.”

    Besides, exemptions is not the only way to counter their perceived salary decrease: Similar to parking, drop permits/exemptions and just increase their salary by the cost of parking / congestion fee and let the union members figure out whether driving to work is really always worth all the money they could safe otherwise (given that they ride public transport for free …) which would still get the desired result of reduced congestion on streets, parkings and sidewalks …

  • Hilarious and Yet Sad

    MD:

    You increasingly remind me of the conservative Kansans in Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Like them, you are totally, blindly unaware of what policies are in your own self-interest.

    At any rate, I wish you luck in your worthy fight against all of the cop cars parked illegally in Lower Manhattan. If congestion pricing doesn’t pass you’re gonna need it. We all are.

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    Hilarious,
    You HAVE taken the blue pill – are we all here trying to figure out which part of the slope the unions will slide down?

    I have been in many, many meetings with the D.O.T., Economic Development Corp, councilmembers, NYPD officers and reps, community boards, etc. and overwhelmingly, everyone knew that if CP was pushed near the point of passing, it would light a nasty fire under the unions who have been spoilt all these years. In these meetings, D.O.T. reps, and the rest of the above, would never give a straight answer about how to deal with permit abuse and CP exemptions for the government sector. Now it’s come to a head.

    All along, I have only been saying that CP is not ready for NYC, and NYC is not ready for CP – the union problem is just one example of CP’s many major flaws.

    BTW – I was born in NYC, and my father was born in NYC.

    Doc
    “If CP goes into effect, it will definitely affect the union rank and file right in their pockets because they supposedly won’t get exemptions.”
    “And?”… all of the above.

    The 2006 Parking Survey study below was quietly released on a friday afternoon so no one would see it. Self-explanatory.
    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2008/ny-parkingplacard.pdf

    I’m still trying to absorb the irony of the NYPD and Fire Dept opposing CP.

  • NYborn

    I don’t see the logic of the CP supporters. Are you saying that in America a citizen doesn’t have the freedom to drive an automobile if they want to. Some of you have personal feelings about the pollution issue, so this is why you are “hoodwinked” by Bloomberg’s efforts to again find a reason to tax the citizens. Ten dollars to drive in your own city? The solution for everything shouldn’t involve over taxing the citizens. His plan is just like raising the price of food to fight obesity???
    Then all of the people who support healty eating would be in favor. You people are misguided. Learn to depict a con…

  • JF

    Are you saying that in America a citizen doesn’t have the freedom to drive an automobile if they want to.

    When I was a teenager working as a dishwasher, I couldn’t afford to pay for the parts and labor to fix my car, so I had to have it junked. I didn’t have the freedom to drive an automobile, did I?

    This is the same situation: we’re asking drivers to pay just a little bit of the cost of maintaining the expensive roads and bridges they use. If you can’t pay it, well then you don’t have the freedom, do you?

    Or are you saying that I, as someone who doesn’t own a car, should pay for your “freedom” by maintaining that bridge with my general income taxes? How is that fair?

  • America Lover

    NYBorn – I’m curious, what part of the Constitution or New York State common law guarantees the freedom to drive anywhere without paying a fee? Maybe when you find the answer you can strike a blow for drivers everywhere and have the toll on the NY State Thruway thrown out by a judge.

  • Outer Boro Man

    His plan is just like raising the price of food to fight obesity

    Really?! So, driving is as necessary to you as food?

    If you don’t have enough money to eat, you starve and die.

    If you don’t have enough money to pay the congestion fee, you take the subway, bus, bike or walk (though, NYborn, have you noticed that everyone on the subway and bus is also paying a fee?)

    So, I just don’t see the analogy. At least not in New York City.

  • NY Born

    JF, Outer Boro Man, and American Lover what you all failed to address is the fact that this is a con. Do you honestly believe that the reason for this tax is to fight congestion? Bloomberg said that the money is for Transit. Didn’t they just raise the fare? We should pay the same price as going to a movie to drive in Manhattan. You must be kidding!
    Do you think that ten dollars means the same in value to a billionaire than someone who is making below Thirty grand or less? Obviously not! No one person can speak for every resident’s situation I’m talking about you guys…Some people live in two fare zones, and taking the train isn’t practical to get to work on time. When you guys support this plan you are thinking about your situation, but everyone has a different situation, so it is selfish to say something is ok, because you can live with it, but some people may not be able to live with taking the train.

    Some people need to drive to work in order to eat food. You miss the analogy…”raising the price of food to stop obesity” Fat people will
    always eat..just like people who need to drive will drive. Bloomberg and his cronies are just robbing the citizens. I hope Silver will stop him! People are finding it harder to make ends meet in this recession, and he is raising prices. Only a dishonest billionaire would pull such a con… One thing that you guys are sleeping on is that due to the recession and hard times crime is rising in our city. The Rats in Mahnattan are getting big like cats, food is getting more expensive, the transit just raised the fares, everything is going up and getting worse and all you guys can do is cheerlead an obvious ruse. “foolery”

  • JF

    JF, Outer Boro Man, and American Lover what you all failed to address is the fact that this is a con.

    You know, I’m getting really sick of a new person coming on here every week who knows so much more than us, has seen that it’s all a con and we’re being hoodwinked. How about you acknowledge that there just might be people who know something you don’t?

    No one person can speak for every resident’s situation I’m talking about you guys…

    How come you take a break from criticizing us and devote a few words to people like David Weprin who presume to speak for everyone in “Queens,” and when confronted with Queens residents who support congestion pricing, throw a temper tantrum and insist that we’re plants because people from Queens couldn’t possibly support congestion pricing?

  • JF

    I meant to say, “how about you take a break…”

    Some people live in two fare zones, and taking the train isn’t practical to get to work on time.

    Uh-huh. How’d they get to those two-fare zones? Were they placed there by the hand of God? No, they chose to live there.

    They made bad choices and we made good choices, but you’re saying that rather than move to a better location they should continue to live there, and we should breathe their pollution, dodge their cars and pay to maintain expensive roads and bridges for them to use?

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Some people live in two fare zones, and taking the train isn’t practical to get to work on time.)

    What is the most expensive improvement in transit service in NYC in the past 50 years, by far? The elimination of two fare zones in the mid-1990s. Who benefitted? The neighborhoods represented by CP opponents, who say they don’t get any transit improvements.

    That shows how long ago you took mass transit. I’m surprised you didn’t say that it’s unfair that drivers will have to pay $8 while the price of a token is only 15 cents.

  • Hilary

    “We should pay the same price as going to a movie to drive in Manhattan.”
    NY Born — movies in Manhattan have been $11 for a long time.

  • smarter than most

    Has anyone on here read comments on either the Daily News or Gothamist when CP is a story? Approximately 70-75% of all comments are against CP. Only on this site and maybe one or two other special interest sites/blogs are comments generally for CP.

    CP is generally not wanted by the public. Today’s NYT has an article on how the newbies to NY who want it to be like “Sex and the City” are finding that it isn’t like that – too costly basically. But unfortunately those people who came to this city because of shows like that want to alter NY to fit the image of that show – clean, friendly to upscale white people, a playground. Clogged streets interfere with that glamour, thus, we have CP.

    And we NYers who have been here forever KNOW that the money will not all go to mass transit (it will be looted and/or moved around) and the MTA will always beg for money.

    Oh yeah, and people from outside Manhattan will be paying for capital improvements to the system within Manhattan – 2nd ave line and 7 extension – with a couple of extra bus lines thrown in for the boroughs and maybe a few extra E and F cars (which I take every day and they run as regular as clockwork so I don’t see how to cram more trains on those lines).

    Let Manhattanites pay for Manhattan if they want a playground. Charge more for taxis and more for rush hour subway service within Manhattan in addition to the CP. Charge the beneficiaries too.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Today’s NYT has an article on how the newbies to NY who want it to be like “Sex and the City” want to alter NY to fit the image of that show – clean, friendly to upscale white people, a playground. Clogged streets interfere with that glamour, thus, we have CP.)

    As I’ve said, there are some people who happen to have grown up here who really don’t want to live in NYC. What makes the New York area what it is, and different from the rest of the U.S.? Walking and transit.

    Yes, people from Ohio who want that life are coming here. If they are Americans and that is the life they want, where else can they go? I happened to grow up here, but no everyone did.

    People who want to drive everywhere really should think about moving to Atlanta if they cannot accept having ONE area of ONE city be a place where the insatiable space needs of the automobile aren’t more important than anything else. That’s what this is about — one area of one city.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (clean, friendly to upscale white people, a playground)

    By the way, what a change. The sort of people who are against CP used to hate mass transit because it was full of poor Black and latino people.

  • Dave

    StM:
    How I wish Manhattan could only pay for Manhattan. Instead we send billions to Washington, to Albany and to the outer boroughs and still we are vilified.

    And the improvements to Manhattan transit are required because most people eventually come here. Do you really think it is only Manhattanites who will use the 7 extension or the Second Avenue subway? Get real.

    We in Manhattan already subsidize the rides of those in the former two-fare zones. Improvements in Manhattan are for everyone, if you don’t see that you really need to change your arrogant name.

  • Hilary

    People who have “lived here forever” know how much BETTER transit is now than it ever was in our lifetime. And we know that much of it has gotten cheaper (end of two=fare zones, bus-subway transfers, unlimited passes!) So we are probably not the ones who distrust MTA.

    Do agree that the bulk of the capital improvements seem to be going to Manhattan though. George Haikalis had a recommendation in his CP testimony (that I don’t think he ever had a chance to deliver) that made sense: pay for the the second ave subway with a special benefit district tax. (Sorry George if I’ve misrepresented the idea here. Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Do agree that the bulk of the capital improvements seem to be going to Manhattan though.)

    If you are talking about Manhattan residents, the only thing they are getting is three stations of a subway promised 50 years ago. Maybe.

    The Flushing Extension will enable a business district by making it accessible for the whole city.

    Everything else is going to the suburbs or outer areas of the city, notably Queens. In some cases, as in East Side Access, Manhattan is getting the construction impacts, suburban areas are getting the improved access to jobs.

    Remember, lots of people work in Manhattan who don’t live there, and lots of people live off taxes paid there. Improvements in Manhattan areas of the CBD — the congestion zone — are not for Manhattanites.

  • JF

    Has anyone on here read comments on either the Daily News or Gothamist when CP is a story? Approximately 70-75% of all comments are against CP.

    Ah yes, the Daily News comment threads can tell us exactly what real New Yorkers think. Judging by the ones on transit issues, half of New Yorkers are nuts with Utah phone numbers who live in Israel but are running for Mayor so that the MTA will pay their workers comp from the time they were fired for refusing to kill people. Great measure of public opinion there.

    Clogged streets interfere with that glamour, thus, we have CP.

    And CP interferes with the glamour of being “just a working guy from Queens” who happens to pay $40 a day in parking.

  • Mark

    JF notes: “You know, I’m getting really sick of a new person coming on here every week who knows so much more than us, has seen that it’s all a con and we’re being hoodwinked.”

    Call me paranoid, but I find it remarkable how many of those new people have an identical writing style. Then they just disappear, before anyone can ask what precisely is the nature of their interest in the livable-streets movement.

  • NY_Born

    JF I am not a newbie. I crossed your paths before. You had a tragedy in your past with automobiles, so that is really your motive on CP; On your statements about residents making a good or bad choice about where they choose to live I say that all residents are taxed the same, so they should have the same benefits where ever they live in the city. I live in Brooklyn surrounded by (F, N, D, etc…) but I choose to drive. I am an American and choice is a big part of our culture.
    Hilary, yes I just remembered that a ticket to the movies have gone up. Everything is going up in this recession, can you imagine putting a $10 fee on the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge at this time. This is just ridiculous! If this plan was supported with real facts, a citywide plan including all factors of traffic, backed up by traffic experts, justifying any fees if any, with benefits in the long run for all NYC residents maybe it could be tolerated or even supported, but coming from Bloomberg and the way how the plan was introduced I am literate enough to know that this is a scheme. NYC will not see a benefit, and the intentions are obviously a ruse. It will only hurt the residents without any benefits for those that will be paying.
    Some people cannot afford to go to the movies as much these days. It seems more economical to wait till it comes out on DVD, and make stove top popcorn. American life is being damaged by the greedy!
    Larry Littlefield people come to Manhattan from the other boroughs, because of what is available commercially. It’s like driving “in town”. Wealthy residents who live in Manhattan take yellow cabs, more medallions is the real culprit for increased traffic. Why you think Bloomberg put monitoring devices in the cabs? He wants to track his cut of cabbie revenue. CP means more cabs on the streets.
    Manhattan is becoming only for the rich. Multi-million dollar studio apartments?? It is obvious that this CP scheme uses the latest idea of our times, “going green” to steal millions from city residents, a fee to drive in their own city, only to finance a remedy for vacant luxury apartments.
    I am a driver and Manhattan is not the only borough in our city that has traffic. If the “end justifies the means” then a plan from traffic experts involving traffic restrictions and road improvements should be implemented to reduce traffic throughout the entire city. Let the experts speak not politicians. All those politicians and stakeholders like Quinn, the MTA etc… What expertise do they have in traffic improvement???? They all have stake in the deception… To be a pawn in this con makes whoever just “naive.” There are a lot of people against CP, but the media plays politics. If we have leaders that don’t have the resident’s best interest in hand then New York City will not get better but worse. Remember crime is up! Really “big Rats” are common in Manhattan, mental patients and newly released homeless inmates, methadone heroine addicted addicts roam Manhattan. Our “Jewish Mayor” is supporting his constituency (Jewish Real Estate firms and wealthy resident). Those mulit million dollar luxury apartments sit vacant, so they are desperately seeking a remedy, but they are expecting the average residents to pick up the tab for this remedy under the guise of “going green.”
    I drive in Manhattan it is obvious that the majority of the cars are yellow cabs and trucks making deliveries or passing through. If this plan is to improve transit and to lessen pollution then why so much yellow cabs in Manhattan? I guess the tax that the cabbies pay is revenue that could be increased if they could add more cabs on the streets.
    As a New Yorker I can say that if you have a family taking the train isn’t convenient or economical. Driving is a necessity. The trains and buses don’t go everywhere, and when you need them to. Even to buy groceries if I didn’t have a car…what a hassle!!! On my day off from work I need as less hassle as possible. A lot of New Yorkers like me will just pay the extra money just like the higher gasoline fees, higher meters etc… Nothing will change. Honestly once I had kids owning a car became a necessity.
    I guess someone’s kid will not be going to see the latest Disney movie until it comes out on DVD.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Our “Jewish Mayor” is supporting his constituency (Jewish Real Estate firms and wealthy resident).

    Uh-huh. A Jewish Mayor and his Jewish Conspiracy pushed by Paterson, Quinn, Aggarwala and Sadik-Khan. It’s great to have Weiner, Weprin, Brodsky, Lipsky, Fidler, Katz, Lancman and Dinowitz taking on those Jews for us!

    As a New Yorker I can say that if you have a family taking the train isn’t convenient or economical. Driving is a necessity.

    As a New Yorker with a family I can call bullshit on that.

  • Edgar

    Hey NY_Born, you know what else is part of American culture? A resistance to publicly-funded handouts.

    You have the choice, as an American, to BUY a big-screen TV or a Hummer or a big house out in Westchester if you want.

    You DON’T have the choice, as an American, to receive those things for free. There is a limited supply, so as American capitalists, we set a PRICE on goods with limited supply.

    Space on city streets is certainly in limited supply. Thus, we’ll let you drive on our taxpayer-funded city streets all you want. YOU have that CHOICE. But please, be a responsible AMERICAN, and PAY for your CHOICE.

    America is all about personal responsibility. Now take responsibility for YOUR actions.

  • Mark

    I always thought the virulently anti-Bloomberg faction of the anti-CP crowd were motivated by personal envy at his wealth. Now I see this (#84): “Our “Jewish Mayor” is supporting his constituency (Jewish Real Estate firms and wealthy resident).” OK, it was anti-semitism, not envy. I stand corrected. Looks like this frequent poster will have to change his name again.

  • Spud Spudly

    “Uh-huh. A Jewish Mayor and his Jewish Conspiracy pushed by Paterson, Quinn, Aggarwala and Sadik-Khan. It’s great to have Weiner, Weprin, Brodsky, Lipsky, Fidler, Katz, Lancman and Dinowitz taking on those Jews for us!”

    OMG Angus….that was just too funny.

    You can count this Jew as another opposing our “Jewish Mayor” on this issue. Let me phone my rabbi and ask him what he thinks.

  • Spud Spudly

    “Space on city streets is certainly in limited supply. Thus, we’ll let you drive on our taxpayer-funded city streets all you want. YOU have that CHOICE. But please, be a responsible AMERICAN, and PAY for your CHOICE.”

    Edgar, you shot yourself in the foot on that one. Or do you think he doesn’t pay taxes? Isn’t he then paying for the streets already. And you can’t really liken a big-screen TV to a public street.

  • Ed

    Thank you NY-born for relating real world facts to the effect of CP. And what would it be without and insulting, self-centered reply from Angus! It wouldn’t be streetsblog.

    Did anyone read last week’s NYTimes where they had a traffic expert respond to questions regarding CP. Here is an excerpt:

    You cannot have congestion pricing without an increase in mass transit capacity. If you do not increase mass transit capacity with congestion pricing, you’ll kill the economics of the city – you can’t do that.

    http://empirezone.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/08/taking-questions-a-traffic-expert-on-congestion-pricing/?scp=5-b&sq=congestion+pricing&st=nyt

    I don’t drive, I take mass transit on a daily basis and I don’t want to ride in trains that are any more crowded. There will be no increase in capacity until after CP is running which is the essential problem with this plan. $354 million is chump change regarding mass transit.

    One more thing to think about. Bloomberg is such a champion of unclogged streets yet the Atlantic Yards proposal as well as the West Side Stadium proposal had NO corresponding plans on how to deal with congestion that would arise due to both of those projects. He has only looked into reducing placards recently and medallions have increased. CP is primarily about his legacy or he would have shown more concern about congestion prior to this faulty plan.

  • NY_Born/Omari/Tony and Ed,

    I appreciate opposition viewpoints in the comments section but if you guys can’t keep anti-semitic and ad hominem attacks out of your contributions then we’re going to have to lock you out of the Streetsblog comments section.

    This thread is now closed.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Pricing Hearing: Sadik-Khan and Aggarwala Explain the Details

|
Yesterday morning’s hearing at City Hall, which garnered much press today, gave Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala the chance to clarify a number of misconceptions about congestion pricing in front of a sizable contingent of City Council members. As expected, one of the first points to come up was whether drivers from New Jersey will […]

Bloomberg: Expect Some Tweaks to Pricing Bill

|
This morning, the Mayor’s office praised the introduction of a congestion pricing bill in the State Assembly. At the end of the statement, Bloomberg drops a hint that the bill on the table is in for some fine-tuning: We look forward to working with the Assembly, the Senate, the Governor and the City Council to […]

112,000 Less Cars

|
Here are more points from Friday’s PlaNYC Hearing:  Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff estimated congestion pricing would remove 112,000 cars from city streets on a daily basis, with 94,000 would-be drivers switching to transit, in what he said would be "Probably the single greatest mode shift anywhere." DOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller said that whatever edge […]

What Western Queens Stands to Lose Without Congestion Pricing

|
Queens residents crash Friday’s anti-pricing rally We’ve received several reports that Friday’s anti-pricing rally on the Queens side of the 59th Street Bridge, spearheaded by City Council Member Tony Avella, was a bust. According to our sources, of the council members slated to attend — Avella, Leroy Comrie, Melinda Katz, David Weprin "and other possible […]

Sadik-Khan Set to Testify at City Hall

|
Streetsblog’s Ben Fried reports live from this morning’s City Council congestion pricing hearing:  DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is set to deliver testimony to the City Council Committee on State and Federal Legislation. Streetsblog got a copy of her prepared remarks, which include a few new pieces of information: "The City is developing a way to […]

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 […]