Weiner’s Transit Plan: [This Space Intentionally Left Blank]

weiner_1.jpgPhoto: Ben Fried

Minutes after the Ravitch plan press conference wrapped up this afternoon, Anthony Weiner held court (briefly) on the sidewalk outside the state office building on 41st Street and Third Avenue. Here, in bullet point form, are some choice quotes from the man who would be the next mayor of New York:

  • The Ravitch Commission offered "the same old answer of tax and tax and tax again." He was pressed repeatedly to suggest alternative funding sources, but did not even mention an increased federal contribution, as he has in the past.
  • He called instead for greater financial transparency ("Let’s open the books of the MTA") and efficiency ("Cost-cutting has got to be part of the discussion"). The Ravitch Commission concurs that the MTA should be more open about its finances and smarter in its spending, while also noting that "we do not believe that the budget deficit can be eliminated solely through administrative and managerial actions. Nor can the budget be balanced through major reductions in service."
  • "Who is the MTA Board? And why is so much of our future outside the hands of the voters?" he asked. An hour earlier, Ravitch had told the press that the process of increasing the fare had become "a political circus" that "produces distorted results. Putting off fare increases has been a contributing factor to where we are today."
  • "This document wasn’t even available on the internet." When a reporter pointed out that the plan was, in fact, available on the internet [PDF], Weiner said something to the effect that it was unfair for one class of people (policymakers and the press, supposedly) to have access to it before the general public.
  • "The city and state have spoken loudly already." If Weiner is referring to congestion pricing, the city has approved the idea, and the state legislature did not deem it necessary to stake out a position in a public vote.
  • "Ravitch is basically an MTA insider. We need some outside voices." We’re about to hear a whole chorus of those.
  • Strike! Strike!

    Forget the TWU, I think the MTA should announce that starting on the day that it runs a deficit for the operating year it will cease all operations for the NYC Transit Subways and Buses, Long Island Railroad, MetroNorth AND all the MTA operated Bridges and Tunnels.

    I’m not sure how else they can demonstrate how essential this properly funding this institution is to our daily life in this city.

    The blanket pandering to every consistency has to stop.

  • He later issued a press release formally requesting a pony.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Strike! Strike! Forget the TWU, I think the MTA should announce that starting on the day that it runs a deficit for the operating year it will cease all operations for the NYC Transit Subways and Buses, Long Island Railroad, MetroNorth AND all the MTA operated Bridges and Tunnels.”

    Glad to see someone else is thinking like I am. Bankruptcy to follow. Better than the Ravitch plan or listening to Weiner.

    You promised federal money if there was no congestion pricing Weiner. Your share — $3 billion per year, indefinately, adjusted for inflation. Where is it? Deadline, October 2009, with the new federal budget.

  • vnm

    Weiner is obviously pursuing what will ultimately be a failed political strategy here. He is trying to make the case for being for being a regional executive by proving he’s an exceptional parochial legislator. The skill sets and worldview are completely different. As an executive, one must understand limited resources and marshall those resources for the greatest good for the greatest number. As a “squeaky wheel gets the grease”-style legislator, one is basically a glorified advocate for one’s constituents, who succeeds by winning battles at the expense of others and not considering realities of limited resources. Though he has ambitions of being an executive, Weiner is making the case for why he should stay in the legislature.

  • He later issued a press release formally requesting a pony.

    … and free ice cream for all Queens residents! Sorry, drive-through only.

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    You know the past 2 months I have been throwing negative energy at the mayor and even wondering allowed to friends that I may not be able to vote for him the 3rd time around. I hated him for extending term limits.

    But after hearing such a fiasco of a press conference from Weiner that has all but evaporated. Weiner still doesn’t realize that his position is a loser all the way, the mayor is fighting for the majority of people in the city who do not own cars. He doesn’t realize the people of this city think he is a comedy act. Weiner is for doing nothing. He has no answers. How could we elect anyone like that? (Unless he can pull 2 billion dollars out of the air for the MTA. I highly doubt that, if he did I am listening…)

    Mayor Bloomberg – despite his flaws – is about 7000% better than Weiner. And is responsible. And is ready to take action. So is the Governor, whom until now I haven’t been too impressed with…

  • paulb

    Same old same old: “It’s the federal guys’ job to save us.” The region may decline, but running for office, this seems to work.

  • Thanks for the excellent write-up debunking Weiner’s blather. This guy is exactly the opposite of what is needed from government right now.

  • Bernard Marx

    “Weiner is obviously pursuing what will ultimately be a failed political strategy here. He is trying to make the case for being for being a regional executive by proving he’s an exceptional parochial legislator. ”

    This strikes more as the beginnings of a case to make a case for greater mayoral control of NYC Transit. His rhetoric strikes as similar to the sorts of things that Bloomberg said about the Board of Ed in his first mayoral campaign. I agree that he’s going about this in a vapid way, but vapidity tends to work pretty well in political campaigns.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I still fall back on the mathematics of the political equation here. Yeah, a majority of New Yorkers don’t own cars, well established. Much less well established however is that a majority of voters don’t own cars. Not all owners of cars are opposed to congestion pricing/tolling the bridges however and that is the swing group that really counts. Bloomberg is taking this issue head on into the stiff wind of the auto lobby. This campaign, one way or another, will be about congestion pricing, the last one should have been as well but wasn’t, for that we have no one to blame but Bloomberg. It could be that Weiner is perfectly comfortable with no plan for transit, blame the suburbs for the commuter tax debacle approach, if he loses he is a young guy who can throw bricks for many campaigns to come.

  • What brainless pandering. I’m really starting to hate this guy.

  • Harlan

    I’m annoyed by the term limit thing, and would prefer to vote for a Democrat over Bloomberg again. But if Weiner is the Democratic candidate, I’ll be volunteering for Bloomberg.

    Quinn would be the best next mayor. She understands transportation.

  • What about Weiner’s hail mary plan for a ten cent increase in the federal gas tax, the one he suggested as an alternative to kill congestion pricing?

    What you say? He hasn’t lifted a finger on it while our system has teetered on the precipice? Huh.

    Seriously, Weiner is setting himself up for massive failure.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Thankfully Mayor Bloomberg did prevail in moderating the anti-democratic term limits law. Hopefully in his next four years he will end it entirely, the next campaign will be waged on two issue, bridge tolls and term limits. It is time for people to admit what a dumb idea term limits were from the get go and get over it. There is nothing all that democratic about whatever referendum Ron Lauder decides to buy.

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