Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MTA Hikes Fares

Read all about it at Second Avenue Sagas. I'm disappointed, for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is the failure of imagination this shows up in our leadership.

Why the hell didn't Bloomberg use his pull to tie congestion pricing to holding fares at the current level? It's a hard enough to swallow a carrot and stick approach, with Congestion pricing as the stick. What do transit riders get but . . . another stick! No carrots today, people.

And Spitzer. The Governor preserved the $2 fare. For who? Daytrippers and tourists, the people who are most likely to pay an increase without skipping a stride? What I'd like to see from the Governor's office is a recognition, in word and deed (and by deed, I mean money) that New York is committed to investing in transit. New York is the second greenest city in America. It's not because of our combined sewer outflows, which violate the Clean Water Act by flooding our coastal waters with raw sewage each and every time it rains. It's certainly not because of the incredible amount of electricity wasted in Times Square and elsewhere every single day. It is because we have a remarkable efficient means of moving people around the city in the form of our subways.

But the transit system has many faults, from congested lines, to crumbling infrastructure, to ADA non-compliance, to whole swaths of the city that are under served by transit. Mr. Spitzer, the City is begging for a Governor who will reverse the disastrous neglect of George Pataki. You can be that guy.

The Bill of Rights proposed by Councilmen deBlasio and Liu yesterday is a step in the right direction. But for that initiative, or indeed any initiative to get traction, we need to see real leadership from Albany and City Hall. A travel-weary city awaits.

Rant over. (for now)

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