For Mr. Schwartz’s new plan to succeed, it is going to require a good deal of his public relations prowess. Dead political ideas are exceedingly hard to revive, and just two weeks ago, Governor Cuomo said as much. “We’ve tried to pass it in the past,” he said at a press conference. “It hasn’t passed. I don’t know that anything has happened to change that dynamic.”
Still, Mr. Schwartz points to the governor’s “can-do attitude” and the fact he has already discussed cutting tolls on bridges to the Rockaways. “How crazy is it to pay a toll to travel within a borough?” Mr. Schwartz points out. He said the success of his plan will hinge on finding two champions, one from the world of politics, one a captain of industry.
As for the politicians, Mr. Schwartz has already written off this year, as there will be elections for the Legislature. The Observer polled the current crop of mayoral candidates, and Scott Stringer is the only one to have openly endorsed the plan. All the rest are studying it.
A number of pols told The Observer they have their reservations, some vocally so. “You can call a banana ‘broccoli,’ but it’s still a banana,” former Westchester Assemblyman and chief congestion pricing opponent Richard Brodsky said. “They are looking for answers in the wrong places, still pursuing tolls. Equitable? That’s not equitable.”
Mitchell Moss, the NYU professor and dean of the streets, believes politics is precisely the problem with the Fair Plan. “It’s a political plan, not a policy plan,” Mr. Moss said. “He’s trying to be all things to all people, and that will never work.”
But Mr. Schwartz is willing to wait, and said he’s focusing on an endorsement from the business community. “There’s a couple of sparks out there, and I’m waiting for them to catch fire,” he said.
Just so long as he doesn’t crash and burn.