David Paterson explicitly came out in support of the Ravitch Commission’s recommendations to fund mass transit by taxing business payrolls and tolling the East River Bridges.
“We need a smarter, better infrastructure” and “we should implement the Ravitch Commission recommendations to improve an essential piece of our infrastructure, the M.T.A.,” Paterson said in his State of the State speech in Albany today.
Michael Bloomberg, in Albany yesterday, spoke favorably of the recommendations, but kept some distance from the issue. The commission’s recommendations would need approval from Albany lawmakers who, in the past, have made a habit of shooting down the mayor’s projects.
“Well, I think we’re going to have to do something to balance the budget of the M.T.A.,” Bloomberg told reporters after the speech. He briefly mentioning that Albany lawmakers rejected his congestion pricing plan last year, which would have provided funding for the M.T.A. Paterson. Bloomberg said, “took the bulls by the horn and appointed Dick Ravitch.”
“I’ll look forward to working with the governor and Ravitch and the state legislature to find a way to not have to raise fares as much.”
When Paterson and Ravitch unveiled the commission’s recommendations in midtown in December, Bloomberg was standing with them. But in response to a New York Times reporter’s question, the mayor said it wasn’t his job to steer the proposal through the City Council or the state legislature.
“The one thing I don’t want to do is make this proposal my own,” Bloomberg said yesterday. “This should not be about personalities.”