This morning’s tiff over deadlines between Senate Majority Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver—Smith called a March 25 deadline for action on the M.T.A. “artificial”—recalls a dispute from almost two years ago, except roles were switched around a bit.
Back in July 2007, those who followed the congestion pricing debate closely will recall, Mayor Bloomberg was leading the fight to charge cars for entering much of Manhattan, with the money going to fund the M.T.A. The legislature needed to act by July 16, he argued, or it would sacrifice up to $500 million in federal money.
He was rebuffed, however, by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The reason: an artificial deadline.
Here’s a quote from Silver in Azi’s story at the time:
“I think we will come back before the end of the year in session, but I do not believe it will be next Monday. Next Monday I believe is an arbitrary date.”
UPDATE: A bit more context, at the request of a reader:
The M.T.A. has gone through its needed public hearings process to raise the fares, and the board has stated that it will indeed vote for the fare increase on March 25 if there is not legislative action.
Back in 2007, the deadline proved to be rather flexible: the Legislature did not ultimately vote on the measure until July 19, when it effectively voted to consider congestion pricing in 2008, securing the possibility of federal dollars for the program. It wasn’t until early April 2008 that what turned out to be the drop-dead deadline actually passed and the federal money went elsewhere.