Monday, March 09, 2009

Weiner Steps In To Offer His Own MTA Bailout Plan

With Majority Leader Smith unable to get a bailout passed in his divided Senate, others are trying to make it work in his place. Smith's leadership skills are practically non-existent and the most we get out of him are half-hearted excuses. So what better time is it for the half-hearted mayoral candidate and full-time Congressman, Anthony Weiner to come back and grace New Yorkers with his presence. Weiner isn't just back to talk though, he's got a plan that could do the job that Smith is unable to get done.

From the NYT Cityroom:

Representative Anthony D. Weiner on Monday released his version of a rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in which tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges that would be paid only by people who do not live in New York City.

Mr. Weiner, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn, and who is is planning to run for mayor in November, has long been an opponent of putting tolls on bridges where they don’t already exist.

But he said on Monday that making new tolls — which he would set at $4.15 — payable only by non-city residents would be a compromise that could gain traction in Albany and would be a bit like reviving the commuter tax, which was eliminated 10 years ago.

He predicted the tolls would raise $391 million a year.
While it is still a change in position for Congressman Weiner to put tolls on the bridges in any form, it is more amenable to the Senators that represent city dwellers that have to cross those East River bridges each day. In politics, compromise is the name of the game (except for the Republican party that wastes space in Congress) and Weiner is willing to move if it fixes the budget gap and keeps fares from going higher. If the idea gains traction with reticent State Senators, the plan will definitely earn him points if he ever decides to start running a full-on campaign to challenge Bloomberg.