Asked about his stalled congestion pricing plan at a press conference in New York City devoted to illegal guns, Michael Bloomberg simultaneously declared his eagerness to continue negotiating for passage of his plan and scolded some of the officials he’d need to make it happen.
He told reporters that the people in Albany who didn’t support congestion pricing simply didn’t have enough “guts” to do so.
He contrasted that with the officials on the City Council who voted for unpopular bans on smoking and trans-fats.
He singled out Democratic Minority Leader Malcolm Smith for special treatment. Noting that Smith told the Daily News editorial board he supported the plan, Bloomberg said Smith told him in a private conversation he won’t support it unless everybody else supports it.
“I don’t know
if that that’s any great courage,” Bloomberg said.
He went on to say he’ll meet “anywhere” to get this approved, before concluding that “Albany just does not seem to get it.”
Here’s a fuller version of his comments:
“I will say that when I was up there yesterday I heard a lot of talk about the politics of congestion pricing, and how it was a difficult lift and a dangerous one, and all I kept thinking about was, you know, some people have guts and lead from the front. Some don’t. If you take a look, Joe Bruno, I don’t know whether he would have had enough votes to pass in the Senate. Clearly he would have had a lot of them. He was willing to vote it. Jim Tedesco, on the Assembly side, had all his members there.
I don’t know whether he would have gotten them all. He would have gotten a bunch of those. Unfortunately the Assembly Speaker was here in New York and said that he did not want to vote on it. And the Minority Leader in the Senate was up in Albany and even though he had said, I think it was to the Daily News editorial board that he was in favor of it, he told me personally that he would not and his members would not vote for it unless everybody else voted for it. In which case, I don’t know that that’s any great courage.”