This past week, New York City has seen one of the worst performances by a public official in its long history. And in the city that brought us Bill O'Dwyer and David Dinkins, that's saying something.
For a period of months, Mayor Bloomberg has been promoting a congestion pricing plan, that would impose a charge for those who drove into Manhattan during peak hours. The objective was to reduce pollution and relieve the unbelievable traffic congestion that impacts Manhattan and the entire Staten Island Expressway/Gowanus/BQE corridor all through the day.
Congestion pricing died this week. Governor Spitzer was not the problem. State Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno had come around- he clearly was not the problem. The problem was Assembly Speaker Sheldon "Shelly" Silver. In order for congestion pricing to pass, it needed to clear the Assembly- but Silver never allowed the vote to take place.
Congestion would have led to cleaner air, a better flow of traffic, probably a better economy. It would have raised money for various mass transit projects. Now, because of a politician with neither character nor backbone, we'll have none of it.
Even lower than Silver are the minority of "outer borough" politicians who opposed congestion pricing. Instead of listening to the big majority of their constituents who commute by bus and subway, they chose to listen to the five percent ( or whatever ) of voters who think they're too good to ride the subway with the normal people. These officials joined Silver in selling New York City and the entire region down the river.
The repricussions will be felt for decades. Mayor Mike, thanks for trying to lead. But some dogs cannot be led.