The Death of Congestion Pricing: Who's To Blame?

Sheldon Silver appears to be the villain of the death of congestion pricing (or, to use the Post's spelling, "Conge$tion Pricing." The News accuses the Assembly Speaker of "murder[ing the] mayor's congestion dream" on page one, and follows it up with a scathing column by Michael Daly about Silver's propensity to say "no" to votes that Silver does not support. The Post's Frederic U. Dicker's analysis piece notes that this vote "wasn't personal," unlike Silver's defeat of the West Side stadium three years ago. Both columnists note that Silver was looking out for his political career, as suburban Democrats in the Assembly opposed the plan.

In the straight coverage of the story, both papers highlight Bloomberg's "special kind of cowardice" statement, with the Post using the "c-word" and the News choosing to highlight the "It takes true leadership and courage to embrace new concepts and ideas and to be willing to try something…Unfortunately, both are lacking in the Assembly today" part of Hizzoner's statement.

The News, whose editorial board supported the plan, has much more coverage of the plan's death than the Post. This includes another editorial taking Silver to task for not putting the plan up to a vote. An interesting juxtaposition is the News' "man on the street" sidebar in which the "motorist," "straphanger" and "merchant" all opposed the plan, which just illustrates how divided the city is on the issue.

Obviously congestion pricing is a controversial issue, but at least one aspect of the controversy is the start of a dialogue on what this city needs to do to lessen its ecological footprint. Let's just see how long it actually lasts.


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