Upstate Assembly Member Says City Delegation Killed Pricing

126.jpgWhat went on behind the closed doors of the Democratic conference the day congestion pricing died in the Assembly? According to a constituent letter from Binghamton rep Donna A. Lupardo, the "overwhelming majority" of New York City members were opposed to pricing, and upstate pols followed their lead.

Thank you for your recent email concerning Congestion Pricing for New
York City. As a committed environmentalist, I can appreciate how
important it is to reduce congestion (and the associated greenhouse
gases and asthma producing fumes), etc. It is also critical that we find
a way to pay for mass transit upgrades in New York City.

As you know, the congestion pricing bill did not come up for a vote in
either the State Assembly or the State Senate. Through six hours of
debate in the Democratic conference, the overwhelming majority of my
colleagues (all from New York City and the suburbs) expressed their
opposition. Honestly, the members representing Upstate New York could
not have possibly swayed the outcome. As we are often supported by our
New York City colleagues (e.g. The Upstate Revitalization Fund), many
felt obliged to defer to the opinions of those who represent New York City.

I’m sure that we have not heard the end of this matter. I will be sure
to keep your thoughts in mind as we move forward.


Donna A. Lupardo

Member of Assembly

So where was Joan Millman when this was going down? Where were Micah Kellner and Richard Gottfried? Where was Sheldon "I probably would have voted for the bill" Silver? Did they speak up or stand down? Conveniently, we’ll never know.

By the way, you can place your free recruit-a-candidate ad here.

  • And we’ll never know what was actually said by whom because that session was closed to the public and all media. That’s not democracy

  • Mitch

    I would guess that the legislators killed the proposal in private so they wouldn’t have to vote on it in public — on the theory that they would make more enemies than friends, no matter how they voted.

    But that’s not the way the system is supposed to work.

  • Mark

    If the upstate members really represented their constituents, they would have considered the fact that NYC gives more in tax revenue to the state than it gets back. The city is therefore the economic engine for the whole state. Congestion is bad for the city’s economy, therefore for the whole state. It’s a vampiric relationship. The state sucks blood out of the city’s neck. And a vampire that’s willing to suck less blood is a pretty lousy vampire.

  • If the city legislators opposed congestion pricing, that’s where the problem is. The question is whether they caved in to corporate interests (eg parking companies) or if widespread support for car culture is the real culprit.

    It’s doubtless a bit of both, but (especially outside NYC) I think popular support for cars is our biggest enemy – after all, even when the business community strongly supports transit projects many state legislatures have a hell of time getting them thru. So recruiting candidates to run against pro-car legislators is definitely worthwhile, but I tend to think that what we really need is a mass movement for livable streets and against global warming that can confront car culture head-on.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Could be, Jake, that the Democratic conference just didn’t want to give a win to Bloomberg. Maybe they will rewrite this thing and have another go on their own as the budget crisis deepen. Then they’ll have something to take credit for.

  • kmc

    The Assembly new congestion pricing is not a broad enough tax to accomplish what Bloomberg proposed. CP is the doing of the Bush administration. The Bushh admin wants to do away with the Federal Highway Trust Fund which pays for mass transit. They rather have the middle class pay for them. The Assembly in the past proposed a millionaires tax which Bloomberg opposed. Bloomberg, like the Bush admin, do not want to raise taxes for the rich. CP had nothing to do with the environment. The Assembly did the right thing.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Regarding the intentions of the Bush administration with regard to congestion pricing, “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

  • Mark

    If the Bush administration would like to get rid of the Highway Trust Fund in its entirety, that would be a giant step forward for mass transit. Massive federal highway subsidies suck money away from transit systems. Let the states and municipalities fund both roads and transit in accordance to their own needs, not some highway-centric federal model.


Assembly Dems Kill Pricing

Speaker Sheldon Silver, as quoted in the Daily Politics: "The conference has decided that they are not prepared to do congestion pricing," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver after emerging from behind closed doors where he was closeted with members of his Democratic majority. "I think you can speak to the members of the conference who […]

Silver and Assembly Dems Defend Their “Democratic” Process

In the latest New York Observer, Azi Paybarah talks to state legislators and other insiders about how the congestion pricing non-vote went down on Monday. Conclusion: Assembly Democrats told Speaker Sheldon Silver what to do, not the other way around. And by killing the pricing bill behind closed doors, the thinking goes, the Democratic conference […]

Quinn Makes Pricing Panel Picks

From Elizabeth Benjamin at The Daily Politics: Aides to Council Speaker Christine Quinn are calling Council members this morning with the news that none of them made the cut when it came to her three appointments to the 17-member city/state commission that will decide the fate of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan. According to Council […]