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 15
supporters, and if he had applied pressure, he thinks he could have
gotten the number up to 20 — far short of the 76 votes needed.

He
said outer borough Assemblymembers did not support the plan because "the
M.T.A. lost its credibility." After so many broken promises, no one
believed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would direct the
congestion 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."

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Pricing Round Up: Persuasive Arguments, Rigged Polls, New Buses

|
With a congestion pricing bill now on the table and the days to get it passed quickly winding down, here is a snapshot of where a handful of electeds, including heavy-hitters like David Paterson and Sheldon Silver, stand. First, the Times quotes Governor Paterson, following his sit-down with Mayor Bloomberg yesterday afternoon: "The mayor, I […]

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 Calls Hearing on Pricing and MTA Capital Plan

|
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will hold a hearing Thursday on how congestion pricing revenues would figure into the MTA’s five-year capital plan. He will be joined by anti-pricing Assembly Members Richard Brodsky and Denny Farrell. The Sun reports: The MTA’s executive director, Elliot Sander, who will testify at the hearing, has said Mr. Bloomberg’s plan […]

Pricing Round-Up: Dems Conference in Albany

|
Assembly Democrats met behind closed doors last night to gauge their collective sentiment on congestion pricing. According to the Post, only seven of the 36 legislators who spoke during the meeting expressed support, but the one who matters most, Shelly Silver, remains uncommitted:  Silver, who has not voiced a public position on the issue, said […]

$1 Billion From Port Authority Not Enough for Shelly Silver

|
On Saturday night, the congestion pricing bill in the State Senate was amended to include exemptions for low-income drivers and cars with handicapped plates. As expected, the changes also stipulated a way to make New Jersey drivers pay "their fair share." In the amended bill, the Port Authority is required to contribute $1 billion to […]