Mayor Bloomberg fought off the bridge-and-tunnel Assembly Members who showed up at this morning’s hearing on congestion pricing, knocking down their objections one by one and dusting himself off afterward.
Them: It taxes the middle class. Him: No, it gives money to the transit system used by the working poor. Etc., etc.
At one point, for example, Westchester Democrat Richard Brodsky tried to object on the grounds that congestion pricing would violate people’s privacy because cameras would track who went into Manhattan and when.
Bloomberg: But we do it with E-ZPass. Are you suggesting that we get rid of E-ZPass?
Brodsky: I choose to buy E-ZPass. I choose not to get my picture taken by E-ZPass.
Bloomberg: But when you go through the traffic lane with your E-ZPass, your picture is taken.
Brodsky: Sometimes–and with a transponder, that reports it, even if it isn’t a picture—it’s an awful system. I tried to–Let’s just say my position is consistent. I don’t even like your red light cameras. But that’s another item.
The Mayor may have disposed of them a little too quickly, even. After two hours, the Assembly members let him go, citing his tight schedule. Then he went off to a side room to participate in a press conference that was run by The Campaign for New York’s Future, leaving the legislators alone in the hearing room with hardly anyone to talk to.
“I thought he was running out to a firehouse or something,” said Rory Lancman, a Queens Democrat. “He’s been in there coming up on an hour. I don’t think that holding a press conference supersedes answering questions from the Assembly.”