Today’s Headlines

  • vnm

    How about this one?

    To declare New York City independence, put video cameras on buses (News)

    Ever since the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, New York City has operated under what author Ken Auletta calls “fiscal martial law.” We cannot set a budget without state approval. We cannot control our own subway system or raise a tax. In fact, due to an overreaching state Constitution, we cannot take governmental action in any area where Albany decides only it can legislate. …

    Michael Bloomberg, who by any reasonable standard has been an excellent mayor, can place himself into rarefied air with a simple act of defiance: placing a few enforcement cameras on buses despite Albany’s lack of permission. What could Albany do? Send in the National Guard to remove them?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The MTA is a state agency. The city cannot put cameras on buses.

    The MTA could if it were willing to risk the wrath of the legislature, post the offending vehicles on a website, and try to use shame as a substitute for fines. But it is unlikely to do so. The legislature is in charge.

  • Spud Spudly

    Russianoff is so, so, so right about the EZ Pass “scandal.” What a crock. Maybe now that it’s over with the media can report some real transportation issues. Even the Daily News said this morning — after congratulating itself for starting the whole hubbub — that the estimated usage of the EZ Passes was for maybe $30,000/year.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    I understand why the free EZ Pass story is appealing but I really wish that William Neumann at the NYT would use his considerable reporting skills to help us all better understand what the heck is going on with transit funding right now.

  • Larry Littlefield

    At this point, I think it’s fair to say that what has been going on in MTA funding over the past 15 years is FAR more important than what is going on now.

    All you need is a chart with fare revenues, city aid, state aid, MTA taxes, toll transfers, health care and retirement costs, debt costs, capital costs, and (non-health care and retirement) operating costs, adjusted for inflation.

  • gecko

    Live camera feed of Waterfalls now at http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov (10:36 AM, Thursday 6/26/2008)

  • How about this scenario?

    City bus riders have the power to take pictures of bus-lane violators.

    The city has the power to create a website where the pictures can be posted.

    The NYPD has the power to use the images on the website to issue tickets.

    None of this requires the approval of the state, even though the MTA is a state agency.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (The NYPD has the power to use the images on the website to issue tickets.)

    I don’t think they can do that. There is always a chance that people would photoshop the vehicles of other people they don’t like in.

  • vnm

    It’s fairly easy to determinwe if an image has been photoshopped, no?

  • Spud Spudly

    I believe the gov’t has to able to vouch for the time and date of the alleged violation. Any picture taken by you or me and emailed to the city isn’t going to meet that burden of proof.

  • Congestion pricing cuts traffic in Milan by more than 20 percent within a month of introduction:

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/02/13/milans-ecopass-called-a-success-one-month-after-its-introductio/

  • lee
  • Bus Camera

    No, NYPD can’t issue tickets based on web submissions from other sources.

    However, bus riders CAN take pictures of violators and put them on a site a la “Hall of Shame”

    Think of it as the Uncivil Servants blog but for bus lane violators.

    Who’s up for creating such a site? (Which, of course, streetsblog would hopefully provide links to)

  • Dave H.

    Yes, those evil foreign diplomats don’t pay their parking and other vehicle fees: http://www.commuteroutrage.com/2008/06/26/embarrassing-us-embassy-refuses-to-pay-london-congestion-pricing-fees/

  • vnm

    OK, two ideas for Bloomberg to fight Albany on autonomy.

    1) Yes, the MTA is a state agency. But because the MTA Bus Company consolidated the operations of seven former city-franchised private bus companies, the MTA Bus Company is funded by the city. So Bloomberg can reasonably say to Albany: “If Albany is not going to let my constituents get the top quality bus service they deserve, Albany can pay for that service. I am withdrawing City funding to the MTA Bus Company until Albany approves bus-mounted bus-lane enforcement cameras.”

    2) If that is too complicated, he could make the point with red light cameras. Put ’em up anyway without approval and see what happens.

  • Ian Turner

    It wouldn’t be of much use; anyone who received such a ticket would be able to get it dismissed on the grounds that it was issued illegally. The city might be additionally subject to putative damages since the violation was made willfully.