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N.Y. Drivers’ Unexpected Ally: The New York Times Metro Desk

12:30 PM EDT on March 23, 2009

So the Times' William Neuman went out to interview subway and bus riders about implementing tolls on East and Harlem River bridges to help fund the MTA. Here's what he found:

While straphangers who opposed tolls were in the minority of those interviewed, far more common in the interviews last week were transit riders who feared the looming fare increases and supported bridge tolls.

No surprise there, right? Thing is, that little nugget above was buried halfway into an article headlined, "N.Y. Drivers' Unexpected Allies: Transit Riders." And here's how Neuman (or his editor) chose to lede the article and sum up their man-on-the-subway findings:

Interviews with residents in these districts revealed that the holdout legislators have tapped into a concern shared by many of their constituents, even among those where it might be least unexpected: transit riders. And while toll opponents made up a spirited minority among straphangers interviewed in recent days, their views stood out, because they were both unexpected and passionately held.

As one Streetsblog commenter put it this morning:

Why doesn't Willie Neuman just write an op-ed stating his personalopposition to bridge tolls instead of hunting out a few subway riderswith contrarian and illogical positions on the matter?

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