Bloomberg Bullish, Silver Sluggish on Congestion Pricing

Congestion pricing was apparently resurrected from the dead today, after the deadline to qualify for federal funding was blown on Monday and Michael Bloomberg lashed out at his critics in Albany as lacking “guts.” He had quite a different take a day later.

Because of a deal reached between the leaders in Albany to move forward on congestion pricing, campaign finance reform and other issues, Bloomberg announced that the city will start buying equipment to put the plan in place.

“We will begin immediately to prepare for the installation of needed equipment to make our traffic plan a reality,” Bloomberg said in a public statement released moments ago.

Technically, lawmakers in Albany only agreed to keep studying the issue, forming a 17-member commission with appointees from the mayor, governor, and from legislative leaders.

On campaign finance reform, one of Eliot Spitzer’s signature issues, limits on contributions to most statewide candidates will be reduced from $55,900 to about $25,000.

Contribution caps to state Senate candidate will go from $15,000 to $11,500. For Assembly candidates, the limit goes from $7,600 to $4,600. A $300,000 annual cap was created for donations to party housekeeping accounts.

Later, Silver responded to the mayor’s statement about buying the equipment by saying, essentially, that he could do what he liked, but wouldn’t be allowed to collect any money until the legislature said he could.

“The mayor can do whatever he wants. He’s prohibited from collecting a fee,” Silver said. “The mayor can do that without this bill. He can put cameras on every street corner, but he can’t use them to collect a fee.”