Washington lawmakers finally reached a deal to re-open the government just hours before the debt ceiling deadline, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t celebrating yet.
“All of what they’re talking about is simply kicking the can down the road,” Mr. Bloomberg told Politicker this afternoon.
The mayor was responding to a request for his take not long before Republican lawmakers had officially conceded their fight. But Mr. Bloomberg, sounding confident a short-term deal would be reached, predicted another standoff soon.
“It is true it would be after the Christmas holiday shopping season, I suppose, but we’re gonna have the same problem come January. We’ve got to stop all of this stuff and come up with a rational system,” he argued at the press conference, which was called to announce the activation of a giant new back-up water tunnel, which was officially switched on at 5 p.m. this evening.
Reporters–invited on the condition that they keep the exact location of the press conference secret due to safety concerns–were ushered into vans and then led underground beneath Central Park, taking a claustrophobic elevator 200 feet below street level to a damp, cavernous room filled with equipment.
The project, which Mr. Bloomberg dubbed “one of the engineering wonders of the world” and “the single largest infrastructure project in the city’s history” will finally provide a back-up water source for Manhattan and allow officials to inspect and repair the borough’s existing tunnel for the first time since it was built nearly 100 years ago.
“There is no other infrastructure project that means more to protecting New York City’s future than the third water tunnel,” said Mr. Bloomberg, who argued that major capital projects can be expensive and inconvenient, but are crucial to the city’s future.
“Everybody bitches about it,” he remarked, but insisted that the city simply has to make these sorts of investments.