Monday, April 27, 2009

Assembly Vs. Senate On M.T.A. Bailout

There is a little more than a month to go before the dreaded twenty-five percent (give or take a few percent depending on what fare you pay) hike in the cost of mass transit coupled with service cuts for the NYC subway system. Up in Albany though, politics and ego, not the deadline is what the leadership in the Assembly and Senate care most about. Sure, they want to get something done to appease their constituents, but "what" they want depends on which side you're on.

From The NY Daily News:

Negotiations over an MTA bailout deal blew up Friday amid bitter squabbling between Senate and Assembly leaders, sources said.

A conference call to discuss the rescue collapsed when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's staff learned the state Senate had already introduced its own bill and planned to vote on it next week, sources said. "Malcolm and Shelly are having a huge fight," said one source with ties to both Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat. "The staffs are not speaking."

Multiple sources said Silver was upset Smith formally introduced his bill. "This is one-upping the Senate to show you're still in charge," said a source close to Smith.

It really is pathetic that there has to be so much squabbling over such a dire issue. Millions of people who can't afford another fare increase will be forced to deal with $103 a month for a Metrocard with less service for the price.

While much of the blame can be placed at the feet of the Pataki Administration and the Republican State Senate in the past for putting so much debt on the M.T.A., Smith should have been ready for this when he assumed power early this year. His district is directly affected by this matter, along with many other Democrats that represent the New York City metro area. How he can let Kruger, Espada, Diaz and Monserrate push him around on this is absolutely ridiculous. I hate to say it, but Shelly Silver has the best plan out of anyone on this, and if Smith cares about the city more than his ego, he'll try his best to make sure the closest thing to the Ravitch Plan is what passes when all is said and done.