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On the Campaign Trail, Silver Blames MTA for Pricing Debacle

Finding himself with two opponents in next month's Democratic primary, the Downtown Express reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is spending the summer knocking on doors and chatting with editorial boards.

silver.jpgApparently accepting the premise that Silver "supported" congestion pricing, the Express writes:

This week, he repeated his reason for not bringing it to the floor —the Assembly opposition was overwhelming. He said there were about 15supporters, and if he had applied pressure, he thinks he could havegotten the number up to 20 — far short of the 76 votes needed.

Hesaid outer borough Assemblymembers did not support the plan because "theM.T.A. lost its credibility." After so many broken promises, no onebelieved the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would direct thecongestion pricing revenue to mass transit expansion, Silver said.

Got that? It's the chronically underfunded agency, not the lawmaking bodies lording over it, that lacks credibility.

Even so, Silver remains characteristically coy on the prospect of a pricing revival. Though he was quoted just a couple of weeks ago as ruling out the possibility, he tells the Express that pricing could perhaps come back "as part of a comprehensive plan," including a smaller zone. Once the Ravitch Commission releases its recommendations after the election, Silver says, "you’ll see this start to get straightened out."

What that means is anyone's guess. But in a recent interview with Crain's, PlaNYC architect Rohit Aggarwala maintains that pricing remains the most efficient means to meet the Bloomberg administration's goal of reducing the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next two decades:

"Any strategy will have to get people out of their cars and invest in the transit system. We settled on congestion pricing because it was the best solution to accomplish both."

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