Friday’s Headlines: Trouble in Paradise Edition

It was an incredibly slow news day yesterday … for the mainstream media, that is. We at Streetsblog were burning the (carbon-free) candle all day with stories about a woman run over by a reckless, uncharged driver, trouble for the 14th Street “busway,” a great new speed camera bill from newly elected State Senator Andrew Gounardes and a story every other media outlet should pick up: How Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build or buy parking for cops will fail on multiple levels.

We even had time to cover a press conference featuring Jimmy Van Bramer’s Mets winter gloves. (This is our year.)

And now the other news:

  • The Daily News had touching details about the woman who was fatally run down by a driver going in reverse on Avenue S so he could park in his driveway. Our story pointed out the multiple laws the driver broke, even though he was not charged.
  • In an op-ed, our friends at Reinvent Albany took Cuomo to task for all his MTA meddling. (Gotham Gazette)
  • The MTA really isn’t giving good answers for why debris keeps raining down on Queens residents from the elevated 7 train. (amNY) Dana Rubinstein’s piece in Politico (subscription only) had a nice, poetic feel to it.
  • Mayor de Blasio didn’t get his “millionaire’s tax,” but he may get something close to it: A tax on non-resident luxury apartments, which could raise $9 billion for transit bonds. (Bloomberg)
  • Two questions: Why are Customs and Border Patrol officers driving on the sidewalk? And why do we need Customs and Border Patrol officers in New York? (NYDN)
  • NY1 tried to pick apart Gov. Cuomo’s numbers on how few New Yorkers commute by car into Manhattan, but others have also said it is a very small percentage of the total.
  • And, finally, we read Gridlock Sam for one reason only: to enjoy the pain drivers will feel all weekend long. (NYDN)
  • Larry Littlefield

    So, if there is a tax on empty units with $9 billion bonded against it, and the significant share of the owners of those units decide to rent them out, do we get to default on the bonds? Or raise other taxes and cut other services to pay them?

  • Joe R.

    I don’t get this trend of bonding against new revenue sources. It’s not like the MTA needs that money all at once. The repairs and system expansions have a time frame of many years. Why not just use the new revenue as it comes in? By bonding you’re essentially using money which would otherwise go to the MTA to pay interest to bond holders.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If they don’t bond against future revenues they don’t get to spend them all before moving to Florida. That means they’ll be available to people who don’t matter — later born and future New Yorkers — down the line.

    It’s scorched earth.

    They are so deep in the hole already, the can’t contemplate raising taxes and fees enough — over all the other taxes and fees added over the years — to cover their inflated costs on an ongoing basis. They just want to push off disaster for a few years.

    It is happening all over the country — more with pension funding than anything else. Even in states where the future hasn’t been sold yet — such as Florida, Georgia and Texas — they are in the process of selling. And it will keep happening until others start calling them out on it.

  • Joe R.

    Even worse is what can potentially happen when politicians and unions see a pot of $9 billion cash, instead of, say, a few hundred million per year more in tax revenue. They’ll be lining up like pigs at the trough to get “their share”. Given that, it’s not hard to imagine a lot of the money going to more retroactive pension increases or unnecessary jobs, instead of to the MTA’s capital program.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The flip side is that when the MTA tried to use ongoing revenues for capital maintenance projects, an arbitrator ruled that the money could be used for bigger raises because the MTA could just keep borrowing instead.