Spitzer’s Crashing and Burning May Put Congestion Pricing Back on the Road

Paterson

Photo: Newscom


In one of its more curious repercussions, it looks like Eliot Spitzer’s fall might mean the resurrection of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing agenda. The groups pushing for a fee on midtown driving to fund mass-transit improvements say that governor designate David Paterson’s reputation as a conciliator bodes well for brokering a deal on the controversial proposal. As it stands, city and state lawmakers must adopt a proposed pricing plan by March 31 to retain a $354 million federal start-up grant — but that too could now change. The city will likely play the our-state-government-is-in-crisis card, pressing the Feds — who badly want to see New York get the money — to extend the deadline. (An ally of Sheldon Silver sniffed: “The mayor’s office has cooked up lots of deadlines and may be cooking up this one, too.”)

Meanwhile, Paterson should be so eager for a positive political climate that he’ll be inclined to bring together what one veteran lobbyist calls the “Big Ugly” — a massive deal in which lawmakers get raises, Bloomberg gets congestion pricing, and the governor gets something or another — without making the tough campaign-finance-reform demands that Spitzer had wanted. We expect Paterson will be thrilled to talk about transportation without its involving Kristen’s ride on Amtrak. —Alec Appelbaum

Spitzer’s Crashing and Burning May Put Congestion Pricing Back on the Road