Okay, we're prepared to make a prediction: Marvelous Mike Bloomberg is going to win his congestion-pricing battle. Spitzer and the Bush administration are both on his side, State Senate leader Joe Bruno has said nice things, and at the Assembly hearing on his plan — held today at the Bar Association Building in midtown, and the only hearing scheduled on the matter before the legislative session ends later this month — Bloomberg more than held his own. He successfully parried the major misgivings about the plan — that its costs would mostly fall on moderate-income 718-ers and that its cameras would compromise personal privacy — and urged the state to join his bid for some $400 million in federal setup funds before the late-summer deadline.
The mayor didn't win any vocal converts at today's session, and Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, notably absent today, wields lots of power. But he even turned a press-conference question about Silver's past veto of the proposed West Side stadium into an ode to the legislature. "Based on my twelve years in the Assembly," Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer told us, "this was very significant in advancing passage." Look for the city to strategically give up some direct control over the plan and to offer to document how it benefits working-class nabes, and we give Bloomberg three-to-two odds of getting his bill passed. If we're wrong, we'll blame Stringer. —Alec Appelbaum