Three Men in a Room Spike Bridge Tolls

gov_scrum.JPGPhoto: The Politicker

Breaking news from The Politicker’s Jimmy Vielkind:

David Paterson, legislative leaders and top staffers just emerged from a 90-minute meeting on an M.T.A. bailout package and declared that it will not include bridge tolls.

"The framework I see is that the Senate has really eliminated what my choice would be, which would be to have the tolls. If that’s the case, then we’re going to have to try to find alternative ways to come up with several hundred million dollars that would replace what would have been the revenues generated by the tolls," said David Paterson, who made a rare appearance at a press scrum outside his second-floor office.

The possible alternatives Paterson spoke of include a gasoline tax, increased automobile registration fees and parking fees — though Paterson said he considered a gas tax hike "out of the question." 

For his part, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver characterized the still-secret plan as a righteous rebuke of last week’s MTA board vote to raise fares and cut service — which state lawmakers failed to prevent despite years of warnings. Said Silver:

"I think what’s most important is we’re dealing with the one thing the
three of us agree [on]—the actions of the M.T.A. board cannot be
allowed to stand. We have to get together and provide the revenue and
ensure these 31-percent fare hikes do not stand."

Now that Shelly’s own $2 toll plan has succumbed without ever coming up for a vote: New York State Legislature, what are you smoking?