Silver Adds to the Congestion Panel

OK, so Sheldon Silver's members on the congestion pricing panel are:

Herman Denny Farrell, Vivian Cook, and Richard Brodsky.

Cook, of Queens, is listed here as an opponent of congestion pricing, and Brodksy has publicly skewered the mayor's plan at every turn, regularly getting booked on television as a critic of the plan opposite supporters like Kathy Wylde.

Farrell is thought to be one of the Silver's closest allies, and he, too, has been a congestion pricing skeptic. When I ran into Farrell a few weeks ago, he took delight in saying he batted away the people running into his office with glossy, pro-congestion pricing fliers (not that there were many) and said he got no calls from any constituents supporting it.

So for anyone keeping score, seven people have been named to the 17-member panel and so far, the ayes have a slight edge. It's likely to grow.

In addition to Silver's appointees, there are three from Christine Quinn who seem like they'll support it and and one from Malcolm Smith, a Senate Democrat allied with the governor who supports the plan.

The rest of the spots are going to be filled by Bloomberg, Joe Bruno, Eliot Spitzer and Jim Tedisco. Bruno and Spitzer have been supportive of the plan.

Not that it means much. If the panel ends up recommending a traffic-reduction plan that includes congestion pricing, opponents in the Assembly will no doubt say that the process was fixed. (See comptroller succession battle for details on how that works.)