Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gang Of Three Back Together Again To Scuttle MTA Bailout Bill

It is crunch time in Albany for the budget and in regard to mass transit in New York City, that is very serious business. The M.T.A. has already approved massive fare increases and tremendous service cuts if they do not get capital from the Legislature. The Assembly is ready to help, but the State Senate is unfortunately a partisan battleground. With the divide between Dems and Repubs so slim, who else would get in the way of legislation to help straphangers than the infamous Gang of Three (Kruger, Espada and Diaz). Screwing their party over for individual gain is nothing new but these men represent the very New Yorkers that depend on mass transit.

As the Gotham Gazette points out, it hardly makes any sense:

Most of Krueger’s constituents do have a car but do not use it for a daily drive to Manhattan’s central business district. Of the 32 percent of his constituents who commute to that part of Manhttan, about 84 percent take mass transit.

In Diaz’s Bronx district more than five times as many people take mass transit to the business district as drive. Two thirds of his constituents do not even own a car. In Espada’s adjacent Bronx district, more than 70 percent of residents do not have a car and less than 4 percent drive to the central business district as compared with 29 percent who take mass transit.

“Taxi drivers have to pay, too, and they will have to increase their fares. Who is gonna pay for that? The people,” Diaz told Gotham Gazette. Or at least all those residents of the South Bronx who take cabs to work every day.

I know that gentrification has been an issue in the city for a while now, but it hasn't reached the South Bronx. Up there the 4/5/6, the 2 and the B/D trains along with myriad bus routes are what moves people around, not Yellow Cabs that start at $2.50 just to get in the door. What this action means for Malcolm Smith is that it will be up to Republicans to make the deal go through. If Golden, Lanza and Padavan are responsible for the bill's passage, they can tout "hero" status for their re-election campaigns while leaving Malcolm Smith looking like a Leader who can't get his herd in order.

If Smith were smart, he should be working very quietly to rid Manhattan and the Bronx of their 'Gang problem.' That way we can add three more solid, progressive Democrats to the caucus two months before the November election.