Bloomberg Withers

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

With the latest blow to congestion pricing, another of Michael Bloomberg's more ambitious plans has been stymied, but he remains as feisty as ever. Washington Post columnist - and former Bloomberg advisor - Jonathan Capehart discusses where the Mayor goes from here. Also Kathryn Wylde, President of CEO of the Partnership for New York City, discusses the future of transit plans in the city.


Jonathan Capehart and Kathryn Wylde

Comments [67]

Brian from Bronx

Deter cars by providing parking and transit options. Fund transit w/ a progressive tax on the people who make their money in NYC: BRING BACK THE COMMUTER TAX, Demand more federal money. DON'T FIGHT IRAQ, FUND TRANSIT

Apr. 08 2008 02:49 PM
Steve S from NYC

Unfortunately, negative behavior (driving into NYC when many do not have to) requires a disincentive ($8) to affect change. But that's not the real loss here.

The real loss is that the MTA and we NYers would have had a steady stream of dedicated funds targeted to mass transit improvements for the duration of this pilot program and beyond.

The truth is, somehow, congestion pricing, in whatever form it manifests in (be it, a whole new and reduced special-parking-permit program, or other Draconian measures), is an initative whose time is here because there's just so much stuff that can be fit into this city.

No matter what that eventual measure is, no one will be completely pleased...Bloomberg had the nuts to foster change, Silver is an old pol whose time as a Boss is old-school, parochial, and harmful to us all.

Apr. 08 2008 02:26 PM
James from brooklyn

"Tax the poor"?
Show me the poor person who drives a car into the city and pays $30 a day for parking.
Poor and middle class people ride the subway and bus.

Apr. 08 2008 02:24 PM
James from 79th Street, Manhattan

Hi Linda and Reuven,

Help me understand... Let's say you lived in Douglaston and you had an appointment in the congestion zone. Would you drive to the closest station of the line you wanted or would you drive to LIC or Sunnyside and fight the parking/traffic/congestion there? Am I being silly by driving to the closer one and skipping the time aggravation?

Manhattanites would pay our share. The point is to reduce unnecessary traffic.

Apr. 08 2008 01:39 PM
hjs from 11211

we live in a greedy nation of selfish drones

Apr. 08 2008 01:22 PM
Jay from Bronx

I think major newspapers should keep a tally of the voting records of the politicians in Albany on major issues and print them once a week as repetitive as that may be. I want to remember who voted to forego hundreds of millions in Federal aide to NYC for a program that would ease congestion in midtown Manhattan and reduce pollution and help defray the costs of our transit system. Most of the individuals who drive in to midtown Manhattan during the work week can afford the fee, and the others can either find alternative means of transportation or else go without. No plan can satisfy all.

Those who oppose this plan are petty, self-serving politicians, who are not acting in the public interest. I would like to remember them when they are up for re-election.

Apr. 08 2008 01:18 PM
Ruben Safir from Brooklyn and the Bronx

How can you talk to people when they insist that Brooklyn is outside of the city, belive that the MTA is honest, and that this tax wasn't nearly exclusively piled onto the backs of the outerboroughs.

Their brain dead imbibes who can't ssee pt their noses. The state assembly just save the integrity and unity of New York.

It's time to target radical regressives like Quinn and Yansky and move them out of office.


Apr. 08 2008 12:59 PM

Charles - I thought there was a tacit moratorium on quoting Billy Joel? Be nice - it's a little early in the day for that sort of thing.

Apr. 08 2008 12:40 PM
hjs from 11211


good point!

Apr. 08 2008 12:38 PM
David from NYC

The color of the sky isn't legislated. We the public deserve to know who exactly was for it and who was against it. To say that the plan lacked votes is to simply take Sheldon Silver's word for it.

The legislature has the responsibility to be accountable to the public. Closed meetings and straw polls violates that basic, fundamental element of democracy.

Apr. 08 2008 12:34 PM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

I am so pleased this did not pass. I live in one of the neighborhoods that would be adversely affected by the increased number of cars that would be crawling the streets in Western Queens to look for parking and avoid the $8 fee. What would that mean? It would simply move the pollution that Bloomberg was oh-so-worried about to my area, which is fully of young children and elderly residents. Aside from that fact, we in Sunnyside ALREADY have a serious parking problem, and ALREADY need a residential parking permit program, congestion pricing or no congestion pricing. I can't tell you how many LI residents drive to my area to park and then hop on the 7, N or W trains. Did any of you pro-pricing people even read the actual drafted legislation? It was a horrible hoax of legal writing. As it's written, it didn't deserve to be approved even by a 7th grade student council, much less by a group of numbskulls who would've had $345 to make disappear.

Apr. 08 2008 12:34 PM
Simon from Manhattan

Because it didn't have the votes --- they have not yet passed a budget. It was a waste of time. Why don't they take an up or down vote of the sky being blue? Because its waste of time.

Apr. 08 2008 12:11 PM
David from NYC


If that's the case, why didn't the Assembly take a vote in the open, instead of slithering behind closed doors? I repeat from my earlier post, this action shows that they are neither "leaders" nor "representatives".

Apr. 08 2008 11:56 AM
Simon from Manhattan


Huh? The legislature was democracy in action, the project had minuscule support - even within the city. The legislators actually listened to their constituents -- what a concept!

Apr. 08 2008 11:47 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

The failure of congestion pricing underscores once again that New York State has the most corrupt, least democratic legislature in the country. New York City's transportation problems will never be solved as long as we remain hostage to the political hacks in Albany. Of course we need congestion pricing, but we also need an transit system free of state control. If Mayor Bloomberg wants to really leave a mark on the city in his final term, he should push for the NYC Transit Authority to become a city department, independent of the MTA.

Apr. 08 2008 11:38 AM
James from 79th Street, Manhattan

BTW, the correct spelling of slubs is "shlubs." When my pals who are shlubs from Brooklyn, Queens, or Jersey drive to see me, do I want them to sit in traffic for 3 hours? That is one angry, despondent shlub! I wanna set my shlubs free! Zoom in on mass transit!! If they really have to drive that case of Shlitz over here, pay 8 lousy bucks and slide through the easier traffic....

What is wrong with that? Am I an elitist anti-shlub? Oy!

We really should have a subway like London with message panels indicating the arrival of the next train.

Apr. 08 2008 11:36 AM
hjs from 11211

is there one? how can we work for that. if leiberman can lose Dem nom in CT why can't we rid ourselves of silver?

Apr. 08 2008 11:33 AM
alan from nyc

It is long past time for a progressive Democrat to challenge Shelly Silver in his Assembly district.

Apr. 08 2008 11:30 AM
Julie from NYC

Hire more traffic cops to move the idiots along. That's what causes the congestion! Half of these people come from countries where there are no traffic laws and they carry that here.

Or, we could put up ads in London to lure their taxi drivers here like Seattle is doing with our cops!

Apr. 08 2008 11:29 AM
hjs from 11211

how do we get rid of shelly??

maybe make him senator after clinton is prez.

any ideas?

Apr. 08 2008 11:27 AM
Alan Starkman from brooklyn

Comparing NYC transit to London's as Jonathan Capehart keeps doing is not to be taken seriously. Infrastructure is in much better shape in London. For example there are signs up in many London stations saying when the next train is coming and times posted are mostly under 5 minutes. Compare this to stations with (lead?) paint peeling off the ceilings which is so typical of NYC.

Apr. 08 2008 11:27 AM
Chris O from New York

You won and now you need someone from your side to talk about it?! I find the "winners" to be the whiners.

Apr. 08 2008 11:26 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

This defense of Bloomberg is bull!

Apr. 08 2008 11:26 AM
Leon Freilich from Park Slope


Non-thanks to Shelly the zombie,

Our traffic indigestion

Goes on apace with his killing

Of the plan to end congestion.

Apr. 08 2008 11:25 AM
Simon from Manhattan

I'm glad NYC wasn't ripped off by another tax shell game. ALso, its ridiculous when both guests echo eachother, why bother?!

Apr. 08 2008 11:25 AM
Chris O from New York

Sheldon Silver: 19th Century politician "leading" New York in the 21st Century.

Apr. 08 2008 11:24 AM
CH from Staten Island

It would be nice if the MTA would consider using more money for subway cars and buses and less for suits (and those who wear them).

Apr. 08 2008 11:24 AM
Zach from Upper West Side

Republicans favored the measure because, in general, they favor "user fees" over broad-based taxes. That's why they like sales taxes over income taxes. That way taxes are based on behavior

Apr. 08 2008 11:24 AM
ugoeri from brooklyn

Horrible plan, the math was all wrong!Bloomberg failed miserably, now i believe he is wondering why converting to an independendt might have been a bad idea. Parties do matter and alienating BOTH parties was a mistake.
Congestion is there because of the rampant building and gentrification going on. Put a congestion surtax on all new high rises to defray road, mass transit and school expansion and repair!

Apr. 08 2008 11:24 AM
James from 79th Street, Manhattan

Hi Charles:

My friends from Brooklyn are always welcome here. Just don't drive to see us during peak hours. The subway's faster anyway, right?

Hey, I'd love to see an idea from you to raise funds for mass transit and reduce traffic. It's a good discussion, fit for men and women.

Apr. 08 2008 11:22 AM
Mark VIctor from Queens

Throw the bums out in Albany!

How many times have we said that? And not taken action?

We are seeing the effects of term limits in NYC, and the results are not bad. Albany needs a bit of the medicine we swallowed a dozen years ago. Like Peter Vallone and the Council, Silver and the legislature have become too cozy and he needs to be removed.

Maybe Mike Bloomberg can stand for his seat...

Maybe that's what he's planning to do...

Apr. 08 2008 11:21 AM
cap from ny

Those who do not support congestion pricing....

It is truly excruciating to see how misled you are.

Apr. 08 2008 11:21 AM
Dave from Manhattan

The MTA has proven themselves completely irresponsible and untrustworthy with finances. I was not in support of congestion pricing because this particular plan was just another way to hand the MTA more of the public's money to waste or disappear - just like our recent fair hike. Oops.

Apr. 08 2008 11:21 AM
Edward from Manhattan

Why not cut down on the number of cabs if you really want to stop congestion?

Oh, that's right, it would inconvenience the downtown hipsters on the way to their gigs and the upper west siders on the way to their therapists.

Who cares about the poor slubs from the outskirts of Queens?

More progressive elitist who care about the People but not people.

Apr. 08 2008 11:21 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

New York State has without a doubt one of the the least representative governments. That this was killed behind closed doors -- without open debate is almost beyond belief. And we put up with this! It's shameful that one man -- or even a few -- can stop a project that could benefit everyone. To say nothing of the loss of millions of dollars in federal aid for mass transit and other projects that would benefit all five boroughs. How short sighted. Albany has strangled New York City for years. We might as well live in a banana republic.

Apr. 08 2008 11:20 AM
hjs from 11211

great points RAI. who controls parking tax? city or state?

also fewer street parking

Apr. 08 2008 11:20 AM
Chris O from New York

The "tax the poor" refrain is a most ignorant statement. How can you communicate with someone who says this?

Apr. 08 2008 11:20 AM
Kassie Schwan from Brooklyn, NY

I was all for congestion pricing when it was proposed to exempt using the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway...what happened to that?

Apr. 08 2008 11:19 AM
joanna from queens

Make several north-south avenues, and even more east-west streets and appropriate streets in the other boros) bus and emegency vehicle only. Let people in cars sit in traffic and watch mass transit zoom by.

Close off as many streets as possible for what ever reason we can come up with as often as possible.

Make driving in the city as frustrating as possible!

Apr. 08 2008 11:18 AM
RAI from Manhattan

A feasible alternative:
Impose an additional $8 (or greater) parking tax in the congestion zone.
Also, increase the fees for on-street parking.
The opponents of congestion pricing seem unwilling to recognize the true costs, both financial and other, of the existing mess.
Once again, congratulations to the New York State Legislature for yet another display of outstanding political cowardice.

Apr. 08 2008 11:18 AM
Chris O from New York

Congestion pricing is dead. Long live congestion pricing!

Apr. 08 2008 11:17 AM

I am basking in this due process moment of constitutional democracy. Hey, Mr. Bloomberg, Atlantic Yards is next.

And for proponents of congestion pricing, please, stop crying. You're embarrassing yourselves now. Take it like a man.

And for Manhattanites. What were you thinking? New Yorkers were just going to let you do what you want to do? It's everyone's city, as much as the boroughs are welcome to you.

And to all, lets not have this discussion again.

And I'm in a ny state of MIND.

Apr. 08 2008 11:17 AM
hjs from 11211

poor people don't drive in the city!
this helps only the people who live in the sprawl: LI, upstate, North new jersey.

Apr. 08 2008 11:16 AM
James from 79th Street, Manhattan

Yes, I have been to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and seen the difference that congestion pricing can make. It's huge. I'm sad to see that this issue was mislabeled as an elitist or tax the poor scheme.

Question for those of who missed a key point: Why does the State legislature have to approve this? Isn't this a NYC issue?

Apr. 08 2008 11:15 AM
Liz from brooklyn

Why would people push for a vote on something they oppose?

Apr. 08 2008 11:14 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Congestion pricing is just another way to tax the middle class and poor for the benefit of the rich! The revenue will never go to the MTA and the MTA has shown that it is not interested in improving the subway or bus transportation for New Yorkers from all of New York City, not just Manhattan....... Bloomberg was defeated squarely by Silver for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

Apr. 08 2008 11:13 AM
Drew Diaz from NYC

Obviously something must be done about traffic in NYC. My observation is that much of the problem stems from blocked lanes- which lead to congestion pollution and tie-ups.
As I travel NYC I observe that the greatest contributors to this snarl are FedEX, UPS, DHL etc double parking where ever they want and Dial Cars/Black Cars livery service sedans waiting for people who imagine their time is that much more important than ours.

Apr. 08 2008 11:11 AM
hjs from 11211

what's your great plan?
if other city have done it, is it really 'half-a**ed

Apr. 08 2008 11:11 AM
CH from Staten Island

The problem wasn't, and still isn't, the congestion pricing per se. The big problem for the city was that it might actually WORK, and we aren't ready for that. What I felt was a lack of planning for upgrades and changes that need to be ready BEFORE the pricing plan happens. If the plan causes more to turn to mass transit, the already overburdened system would choke. If drivers use other routes, the gridlock already happening on highways like I-95 would expand. If drivers turn to secondary streets to avoid the gridlock, the neighborhoods would be negatively impacted and the side streets would see an increase in traffic the streets aren't designed to handle.

This looks like a plan to brick in a second-floor porch without shoring up the first floor support. The infrastructure MUST be in place BEFORE congestion pricing can AFFORD to work.

Apr. 08 2008 11:10 AM
Ruben Safir from Brooklyn and the Bronx

This plan only taxed Brooklyn annd Queens because everyone else already pays tolls that are credited toward the congestion tax. The burden of this tax was at Brooklyn and Queens almost exclusively. The state says it needs more revenues. Try regular taxes and see if that works. You want new taxes, make you case and stop being cowards. It takes a special type of coward to tax the weakest politcal group, citizen in Brooklyn and Queens, and then cover it up as a "Congestion Pricing Plan" and then turn the whole issue into a big pork barrel.

Let's start a toll on the LIE in Nausua and Suffolk counties.


Apr. 08 2008 11:10 AM

Fatal flaw was de-linking of car tax & public transit improvements.

Apr. 08 2008 11:09 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD


how about having someone on there who is against congestion pricing

let's hear both sides of the story

Apr. 08 2008 11:09 AM
King Strang from Brooklyn

What a pity, what a wasted opportunity. Reminds me of the Westway debacle - shortsighted New Yorkers lost a chance to reclaim all of the Hudson River shoreline in Manhattan, paid for by the Feds.

A generation later we are apparently no wiser.

Apr. 08 2008 11:07 AM
cap from ny

That congestion pricing didn't pass.... short sighted people can be.

It pains me.

Apr. 08 2008 11:06 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Don't understand people who just want to throw hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars at a half assed plan expecting some grand solution.

this lousy plan would never have worked!

Apr. 08 2008 11:00 AM
hjs from 11211

London did it, why oh oh can't we??

America has lost its vision

Apr. 08 2008 10:47 AM
cap from ny

Right on David.

Apr. 08 2008 10:38 AM
hjs from 11211

tell us why should the Europeans, who spend 2 weeks per year in the city in their luxury high rise condos, care about traffic congestion?
most drivers live outside of 5 Boroughs. outsiders win again.

Apr. 08 2008 10:38 AM
cap from ny

To Michael....
Yes, I did want these people managing the hundreds of millions of dollars to organize this colossal plan.

It would have been a start.

No one would agree who best to handle such a plan. If everyone had to agree on the best team to handle such a plan we would never get this off the ground. This is going to happen eventually. Now it's just going to take that much longer!

You have to start somewhere.

Apr. 08 2008 10:33 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

You people who supported Congestion Pricing are nuts!

You criticize Shelly Silver and the assembly for not passing Congestion Pricing and forget that these would be the same people who would manage the plan and the money.

Did you really want these people managing the hundreds of millions of dollars and organizing a colossal plan such as this???

Apr. 08 2008 10:30 AM
cap from ny

FOOLISH! that this congestion pricing did not pass. D__b A___es!

Apr. 08 2008 10:28 AM

Bad attitude led to 2004 Repub convention dissident crackdown and now this, scorn for elected reps who did not go along with his car tax.

2-bit legacy for such a talented, wealthy and lucky man who I agree w on so many things, including the car tax. It's that attitude.

Apr. 08 2008 10:27 AM
David from NYC

I supported this proposal and am disappointed in the outcome; however, I am LIVID that this was handled in such a back-room, behind closed doors fashion. If the Assembly doesn't have the backbone to take an up or down vote in open session, they have no business being where they are. Such action states that they are neither "leaders" nor "representatives."

Remember this when the next election comes around.

Apr. 08 2008 10:14 AM
Robert Sinclair from Manhattan

Dear Mr. Lehere,

I have been in New York for 1 1/2 years from California. And if the Legislatior can not even show up for for such and inportant issue then perhaps the entire Legislature should be recaled. If I did not show for work, I would be fired. Why shoundn't they.

Several Month ago on your show, the legislature was asking the MTA to delay the rate increase so the legislature could see if they could come up with the nessassary funds to fund the MTA. The MTA went ahead with about 5% percent increast when the MTA needed a 40% increase to pay its bills. We all want the subway but no one wants to pay for it.

Apr. 08 2008 10:10 AM
Marybeth Robb from Summit, NJ

When thinking about Shelly Silver, I'm reminded of what Charolotte once said of Wilbur: SOME PIG. Congestion pricing is a viable, well tested (have you been to Singapore?) means to clear midtown traffic.

While Silver slithered, the rest of the cronies fiddled up in Albany. For shame! How dare you let New York miss this opportunity to upgrade mass transit and ease traffic for your own selfish gains. And how cowardly to hide behind Shelly and not demand a vote.

Silver needs to be voted out of office. And not a day to soon for me.

Marybeth Robb

Apr. 08 2008 10:07 AM
James from brooklyn

People who really have the least, people who don't own cars, will end up paying for this in subway fare hikes.

This season's catch phrase of "taxing the middle class" hypnotized our tiny New York minds. Any plans for the future don't have a chance in this backwater called New York. Better luck elsewhere, Mike. Thanks for trying.

Apr. 08 2008 10:00 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Glad to hear Bloomberg lost the battle for congestion pricing.

It was a terrible plan flawed from beginning to end and top to bottom.

Would it really help to throw hundreds of millions of more tax payer money at the MTA who will simply misuse is it?

The MTA is incapable of doing anything efficiently or well.

Bloomberg's solution is to tax people who have the least. When it came to supporting raising taxes on New Yorkers who make a Million or more Bloomberg was the COWARD.

Apr. 08 2008 09:44 AM

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