New York’s own, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio, have been plotting ways to raise money for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. After years of unsustainable, unchecked spending the MTA is, in every way, awful shape. Its infrastructure and finances are in the toilet, and service is poor.
The two Democrat leaders, who’ve been more often than not antagonists, found common cause in a gambit designed to tax drivers bold enough to take their vehicles into Manhattan. Andy and Billy euphemistically call this fleecing of motorists, Congestion Pricing. The idea is to have electronic license plate readers record cars or trucks going below a certain street in the Big Apple, then sending registered owners a bill.
And while no one is 100% sure which street will mark the starting point, who might be exempted, or even how much drivers will pay, Cuomo and DeBlasio are pretty giddy about enacting their scheme. In effect these two pols are mostly shafting working class people to fund transportation options these same taxpayers aren’t really using.
But if that’s the plan, why not expand the revenue grab to others who happen to be using a different set of wheels to negotiate the highways and byways of Manhattan? Why not bring folks riding bikes into the MTA mess?
Think of the pot of dough available to big spending pols if bike riders were treated, in every way, like the folks with whom they share the roads. First, they’d have to pay fees to register their bicycles and get “plates”. Next, inspections would seem a must. Finally, equally, apply the same standard traffic code enforcement to both two-wheeled lawbreakers and lousy drivers alike. Given the habitually unsafe habits of legions of New York City cyclists, this last policy could turn out to be a mother lode too rich for greedy politicians to resist.
A long overdue crackdown might prevent serious injuries or even deaths. Sadly, any action now comes too late for 67-year-old Donna Sturm. On April 24th she suffered a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a bicyclist while crossing 57th Street. She died earlier this week.
Her family issued a statement Sunday, saying, “Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence.”
“She died because a bicyclist completely disregarded the law. She was crossing a street, in the crosswalk, with the light in her favor when she was struck. The statement continued. “Ted Panken lost his wife and his daughter lost a devoted, loving mother. Donna Sturm’s entire family is, simply put, devastated. They will never recover from this loss.”
Police said 40-year-old Damian Deward ran a red light and plowed in Ms. Strum. “Deward stayed on the scene and received a summons.” A summons!
Yup. Let’s toss reckless bike riders into a politically motivated cash grab, aimed at funding the bottomless MTA money pit.