More Panel Picks
August 21st, 2007

The rest of the picks for the congestion pricing panel have been announced, and the membership does not include a lot of undecideds.

Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg named Gene Russianoff of the New York Public Interest Research Group and the Straphangers Campaign, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn and civil rights attorney Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE.

For his three slots, Governor Eliot Spitzer chose former First Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw, Port Authority Executive Director Anthony Shorris and Elliott Sander, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an opponent of the plan to charge people to drive in Manhattan, selected three Democratic members of the Assembly: Herman Denny Farrell, Jr., Richard Brodsky and Vivian Cook. From the other side of the Capitol, Senator Majority Leader Richard Bruno appointed New York Central Labor Council President Gary LaBarbera, SUNY Chairman Thomas Egan and Richard Bivone, president of the Nassau County Council Chamber of Commerce. Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, who gets just one pick, appointed Gerard Romski, the counsel and project director of Arverne By the Sea.

(Earlier choices are below.)

Most of those selected, like the previous appointees, have well-known positions on congestion pricing. Brodsky, for example, has been one of the most vociferous opponents; Russianoff has been a vocal supporter, and one doubts that Sadik-Khan would go against her boss big idea. Since proponents of the plan get to name more commission members than opponents do, the panel seems to favor congestion charges. Not that it means much, says the Politicker. If the panel ends up recommending a traffic-reduction plan that includes congestion pricing, opponents in the Assembly will no doubt say that the process was fixed.

And any plan the commission devises must, as we have noted previously, be approved by the City Council (where a Gotham Gazette survey found many members undecided) and the legislature. Some wonder whether the commission might make it harder to win approval. A number of council members are very unhappy with Quinn’s choices, which clearly were made with an eye toward making Bloomberg happy, observers the Daily Politics. Writing to Streetsblog, drose comments, I am worried that stacking the panel with known congestion pricing proponents will cause a revolt in the Assembly Majority.

By on August 21, 2007, 4:14 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Transportation | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “More Panel Picks”

  1. Joyce Klemperer Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:25 am

    In the discussion of congestion pricing so far, less attention has been paid to incentives than I would have hoped. Recent subway fiascoes must discourage commuters who drive from being willing to consider a change, and rumblings of rate increases (combined with this summer’s poor performance) can’t help.

  2. NixPlacardParking_NoCongestionPricing Says:
    August 23rd, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Before this congestion pricing/commuter tax scheme came about, there was, and still is, the problem of 150,000 government sector commuters with parking placards, with many thousands invading Manhattan everyday – this costs NYC $46-million a year in lost parking meter revenue alone [That’s right – NYC has actually lost $250-million in parking meter revenue on Bloomberg’s watch]. Elimination of illegal placard abuse was on the table first – and should be the priority of this heavily weighted and biased congestion pricing council. It would cost the City NOTHING to enforce already existing No Permit Zone laws and eliminate thousands of parking violations that occur everyday by illegal placard abuse; thus, reducing congestion, reducing air pollution and getting the City back its revenue that could be used to improve mass transit and keep fares low.

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