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Congestion Pricing

Thursday’s Headlines: Whoopi’s Whoppers Edition

Why does "The View" allow Whoopi Goldberg to just lie on national TV? Plus other news.

How do you know Whoopi Goldberg is lying about congestion pricing? Her lips are moving.

Every few years, Whoopi Goldberg, the New Jersey mansion-owning populist co-host of "The View," unleashes her detestable windshield perspective on whatever local politician happens to be at her show's table. In 2019, she lied about bike lanes during an appearance by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, and on Wednesday, she did it again, this time using Gov. Hochul as the foil for her latest rant against congestion pricing (and bike lanes).

It would be easy to dismiss the multi-millionaire and multiple home owner Goldberg, were it not for a few things: 1. She has a very large megaphone. 2. Her "things were better before bike lanes" rhetoric is cloaked as class warfare (even though Goldberg hasn't been a member of that class for decades), and, most important, 3. She lies.

Let us count the ways:

Goldberg: "Congestion pricing is driving me berserk." (Fact: It hasn't started yet.)

Goldberg: "We had ways to get around. You could get — it might have taken a long time because we have big trucks — but you could get around." (Fact: There has been congestion in New York City since the invention of the automobile, as this 1916 Times article shows. Also, when then-Department of Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz coined the term "gridlock" in the 1970s, it wasn't because he liked crossword puzzles.)

Goldberg: "New Yorkers did not mess up the streets." (Fact: Yes, yes we did. According to the Census, in 2000, New Yorkers owned about 1,800,000 cars. By 2022, that number had risen to 1,979,000, an increase of nearly 10 percent. Those cars had to go somewhere.)

Goldberg: "I'm a lifelong New Yorker. The idea of having to pay to go from Point A to Point B without really having the conversation ... made me feel like nobody was listening." (Fact: New Yorkers pay to drive from Point A to Point B all the time, including going over various bridges, using tunnels or taking some highways. And the conversation that Goldberg claims never happened? Congestion pricing was debated in Albany under then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg and was finally passed, after substantial debate, in 2019. Since then, there have been public hearings in literally every year since.)

Goldberg: "Nobody said, 'Hey, maybe we should not have put all of these bike lanes everywhere.'" (Fact: Actually, many people opposed bike lanes. But Mayor Bloomberg started building them in earnest during his tenure and Mayor de Blasio got elected partly by saying he would expand his predecessor's street safety efforts. And he got re-elected. So, yes, people were definitely talking about bike lanes.)

Goldberg: "Don't get me wrong. I can afford it. But a lot of my friends who drive in every day — who left here because they couldn't afford to live here anymore — can't." (Fact: Yes, she can afford it. And her friends who allegedly left New York because they can't afford to live here, yet still drive in every day can, too.)

Goldberg: "They keep making it more expensive to get on the train." (Fact: She doesn't take the train, but if she did, she'd know that, adjusted for inflation, the average fare is cheaper than it was in 2017, according to the MTA.)

Goldberg spoke for more than a minute — an eternity in TV — without letting Hochul get a word in. After a commercial break, Goldberg spoke again for 26 seconds before allowing the governor to answer her question, which she did brilliantly, reminding the plutocratic populist that the vast majority of commuters get around New York City on transit, which is choked by car traffic that renders it impotent. And congestion pricing will raise money to better serve those transit users.

Everyone is entitled to her opinion, but it's objectively a bad look for a rich lady to spew falsehoods and ignore the needs of working class people and the reality of the democratic process.

That said, the congestion-pricing-hating NY Post sided with Goldberg. The paper also printed a largely fact-free rant from Council Member Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island).

In other news:

  • Another cop has come forward to say he was fired for ignoring a PBA "courtesy" card. (NYDN)
  • We appreciated that the Daily News cited Jesse Coburn's Polk-Award-winning "ghost tags" series in its editorial about a new scofflaw crackdown.
  • An 8-year-old boy was killed by a driver in Queens. (Streetsblog, NY Post, and Gothamist with an atypical headline accusing a truck of acting on its own)
  • And a pedestrian was killed by a city truck driver at another Queens intersection. (Streetsblog)
  • The Times looked at the sad practice of kids selling candy on the subway.
  • More federal money is boosting the QueensWay park concept, which may be slowly dooming the QueensLink transit idea. (QNS, Crain's)

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