Don't Blame Silver
March 24th, 2009

Don’t blame me–blame Malcolm Smith.

That is basically what Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a prepared statement, released this afternoon, that calls proposed MTA fare increases and service cuts “unacceptable” and pins blame on the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith was not able to overcome the will of the gang of three, who stood against tolls on East River bridges. As a result, Smith released a plan last week that has been called “slapdash” and a “stopgap measure” by many. As a result, it seems the legislature can’t reach a consensus on a plan to provide financial relief to the MTA and stave off fare increases and service cuts. The MTA is expected to vote on the increases tomorrow.

Silver came under fire last year for not being able to deliver a successful vote on congestion pricing, and this time strongly wants to avoid being seen as the enemy of straphangers.

Here is Silver’s statement in its entirety:

“The huge fare increases and massive service cuts proposed by the MTA are unacceptable. We simply cannot ask riders to pay $2.50 for a subway ride. People cant afford it and we just cant let it happen. Let me be clear, the Assembly Majority is ready to pass a plan to save the MTA and prevent a massive fare hike. Our plan would prevent the proposed cuts and fare hikes by sharing the burden of transit costs. Those who use the bridges would pay a toll that is equal to what New Yorkers pay for a subway or a bus ride, and employers would invest in the system through a small payroll tax. We had hoped that the Senate would support our plan. The Assembly is prepared to act on this proposal to avoid the huge fare increases and draconian service cuts t hat would have a devastating effect on all New Yorkers. Every New Yorker and every company that does business here has a stake in the future of the MTA. A safe, efficient and dependable mass transit system is critical to the regions economic health and a major factor in our ability to weather this economic crisis, and attract and retain jobs. During the 1970s fiscal crisis, we stopped investing in the MTA. It was a horrible mistake that had a devastating impact on the city, on the suburbs and on the entire economy. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.”

By on March 24, 2009, 4:39 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Transportation | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Don't Blame Silver”

  1. Daniel Millstone Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t blame Silver. We mass transit advocates have not yet punished opponents of mass transit. Mayor Bloomberg, who financed the GOP Senate campaigns and who produced not one vote for stable MTA financing bears significant responsibility. So do those of us who left Senators Padavan and Golden in place. If this fare-increase service-reduction takes place. I, for one, will chant “Bloomberg, Padavan, Golden” ever time I pay a an unfair fare or walk where a bus route once ran.

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    March 25th, 2009 at 7:56 am

    So Silver can sell out the future for 15 years, issue a proposal he knows isn’t going anywhere once the future arrives, and get credit for being a saint for doing the latter?

    How do you know he really meant what he said? I’m more interested in what he did for 15 years. In any case, he couldn’t undo it even if he wanted to.

  3. Larry Littlefield Says:
    March 25th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    “Mayor Bloomberg, who financed the GOP Senate campaigns.”

    Hey Millstone, you make as much sense as my Republican mother, who told me yesterday that the U.S. is going bankrupt and we won’t be getting Social Security because of Lyndon Johnson.

    This is a Democratic dominated state, and now univerally Democratically controlled. These are government agencies, a Democratic consituency. And we have the highest state and local taxes as a share of income in the country.

    The Republicans in the state legislature deserve to be stuffed into burlap bags and dumped over the state line. But are you really going to pretend the Democrats and all the interest groups that keep them in office are good guys?

  4. Steven Levine Says:
    March 25th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Silver is not to blame on this, but what about the commuter tax and congestion pricing? Senate Republicans have shown no leadership, but we also need to look at Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Pedro Espada for selling out straphangers and commuter rail riders. The only thing these senators have defended is the right for a small minority to cross free, and create smog at the entrances of the East River bridges. They should be forced to stand at the corner of Van Dam St and Queens Blvd and breathe the truck fumes as punishment for their craven votes.

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