Though the Partnership for New York City's Kathryn Wylde told the NY Times that she finds Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver "quite the opposite" of the "dark Darth Vader figure of Albany" that many people think him to be, we're betting that Mayor Bloomberg thinks Silver is quite Vaderish. A number of lawmakers confirmed to the Post that the many people hate Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan for the city, offering comments like "It sucks, it does nothing for anybody, kill it" and "It's likely dead for good." And Streetsblog found out from new Department of Transportation Commisioner Janette Sadik-Khan that the city doesn't quite have a Plan B if congestion pricing doesn't go through. She said:
Everyone is shooting for [approval of the plan on Thursday when the legislative session officially ends] but the promise of a special legislative session later this summer is still out there. So, Plan B is the special session. We are not giving up hope at all. We are fully committed. We need to get this legislation passed. It needs to pass now. It would be ridiculous to throw away hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds. That's our plan and when the plan passes we're looking to institute a series of immediate short term improvements before the switch is flipped on congestion pricing, including increased express bus service, ferry service and a variety of other initiatives. So, our emphasis is on making sure this congestion pricing program passes. On the transportation side, we don't think there's anything more important for the future of New York than getting this plan through.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno says congestion pricing will likely be discussed during the special session, but, really, the knives are sharpened to kill it: Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester said,"The opposition gets stronger and more issue-oriented every day." The Observer also has an article about Silver: "But while Albany as a whole has the constitutional ability to impose its will on the city, it is Mr. Silver who has emerged as a singular kingmaker there."
Speaking of driving, the Legislature did manage to agree on a new aggravated vehicular homicide charge, which goes after drunk drivers. The bill was prompted by the deaths of the a limo driver and 7-year-old girl who were killed when a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.28 (three times the limit) was driving in the wrong direction.
And even the Vatican is thinking about driver behavior: The Pope also issued some thoughts on making roads safer. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino explained, "Church and State, each in its own field, must work to create a generalized public awareness on the question of road safety and promote, using all possible means, ... an adequate education among drivers, travelers and pedestrians." We've included the list, via the AAA, after the jump - number 1 is "You shall not kill." However, "Thou shalt not jump onto the Popemobile" was not one of the "commandments."
1) You shall not kill.
2) The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3) Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4) Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5) Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
6) Charitably convince the young and not-so-young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7) Support the families of accident victims.
8)Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9) On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10) Feel responsible toward others.