Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Eric Adams

Randy Mastro Aspires to Join Mayor’s Inner Circle of Congestion Pricing Foes

The mayor's reported pick to run the city Law Department is former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and notorious foe of bike lanes and congestion pricing.

Randy Mastro — they guy helping New Jersey sue over congestion pricing.

It's Giuliani time!

A New York Times scoop that Mayor Adams intends to put Randy Mastro — a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and notorious foe of bike lanes and congestion pricing — in charge of the city's Law Department has quickly raised concerns of a pro-car, Republican, corporate voice in the core of Hizzoner's inner circle.

Mastro is well known to Streetsblog readers as the man who was so offended by the Prospect Park West bike lane that he worked pro bono to stop it. More recently, he has made his name as a corporate lawyer with such clients as Amazon and Verizon, leading then-Gov. Chris Christie's investigation into his own "Bridgegate" scandal, and, most recently, representing New Jersey in the Garden State's effort to delay or halt congestion pricing.

No wonder a handful of City Council members are already up in arms — and vowed to stop Mastro's appointment through the Council's confirmation process.

“On the grounds of his role in the Chevron case in Ecuador … I cannot trust his judgment when it comes to New York City’s future,” Brooklyn Council Member Sandy Nurse, co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, told the Daily News.

Fellow progressive, albeit from Queens, Tiffany Caban added, "Our city’s top lawyer should be a principled champion of justice, not a far-right wing pal of sleazy crooks like Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and billionaire real estate magnates. No way in hell I vote to confirm Randy Mastro.”

It's also telling that the one Council member who cheered the possibility of Mastro's appointment was Republican Joe Borelli, a foe of congestion pricing and an outspoken proponent of driving.

"I want more people who think like me on congestion pricing in City Hall," a buoyant Borelli told Politico. (Officially, Council Member Keith Powers, who chairs the Rules Committee, told Streetsblog that he wouldn't comment until the appointment is official and a hearing is set up; City Hall also declined to comment, citing the fact that Mastro has not actually been appointed yet.)

Beyond congestion pricing though, the former Giuliani go-along has also made quieter moves to support car-first policymaking. In 2010, Mastro was essential to connecting Iris Weinshall and other Prospect Park West bike lane opponents to Gibson Dunn, the white-shoe law firm that represented the wealthy bike lane foes for free.

New York City still faces occasional lawsuits over bus lanes and bike lanes. The city is currently in court defending itself against charges that its Open Streets program violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Whatever his record on safe streets and tolling drivers to recoup a tiny bit of the societal cost of their motoring, it's no guarantee that Mastro, as corporation counsel, would mean the city would reverse course on issues like defending open streets. As head of the Law Department, Mastro wouldn't be involved in making day-to-day decisions about which cases to litigate, something that's left up to other parts of the bureaucracy.

But hiring the Garden State grappler could portend bad things from an administration already uninterested in bus lanes, bike lanes and a successful congestion pricing rollout.

Adams's Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi has said positive things about congestion pricing and livable streets, but the mayor is also surrounded by close confidantes hostile to public transit and bike-boosting policies. The mayor's intergovernmental team has slowed down bus lanes, while longtime adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin oversees a parallel office that slows down Department of Transportation projects it deems controversial.

Mastro, then, could be another retrograde voice in the mayor's ear as City Hall does less and less to try to meet the goals of the Streets Master Plan.

"It's just kind of amazing that a guy with that record can find a home in city government in 2024," said Jon Orcutt, a former top official in the city DOT.

The man with the perhaps the strongest opinion of Mastro — MTA CEO Janno Lieber — sarcastically joked about his congestion pricing foe when asked about it by reporters on Wednesday.

"I think it's great Randy Mastro got religion and is back to thinking first about New York City and not about New Jersey," Lieber said after a Crain's power breakfast that Streetsblog powerfully attended.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

MTA’s Demotes OMNY Contractor Cubic In Hopes of Speeding Up Commuter Rail Fare Integration

Officials are giving up on Cubic's delayed plans to bring Metro-North and the LIRR into the OMNY-verse.

May 20, 2024

Microtranist Is Taxpayer Funded Uber, Advocates Warn — And It’s a Threat to Real Transit

American cities are falling for the "false promise" of microtransit, a top transportation union argues — and we're all going to be the ones who pay for it.

May 20, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Road Safety is No Accident Edition

There were two big stories over the weekend — and both were about street safety. Plus other news.

May 20, 2024

Garbage Company Involved in Fatal Crash Will Ply Streets of Eastern Queens, Too

The private garbage company whose truck driver struck and killed a Manhattan pedestrian on Thursday according to police has won the right to pick up trash in a wide swath of Southeast Queens, raising concern for safety there.

May 17, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Fleet Week Edition

Some good news about the city fleet. Plus other news from a busy day.

May 17, 2024
See all posts