Upstate Screws The City Again

The theme of Upstate NY screwing over New York City is nothing new. The practice of screwing with NYC has been going on for years with the latest example occurring on Tuesday when a major transportation bill failed to pass. The State Assembly Transportation Committee shot down a bill 14-11 that would have permitted bus-mounted cameras to deter cars from using bus-only lanes. The bill which has support from many elected officials & transit advocates was seen as a key component towards the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit.

The outrage about the bill’s defeat stems from the fact that a representative for Rochester is the one who led the charge to shoot the bill down. The villian in this case is Rochester Democrat David Gnatt who chairs the State Assembly Transportation Committee. It is bad enough that someone who does not have knowledge of New York City’s transportation needs is deciding what we do & don’t need. However to find out that the reasons he gave are nothing but double talk is infuriating.

You see, Mr. Gnatt has in the past resisted any sort of automated enforcement due to privacy concerns. However last month he sponsored a bill that would expand the use of the red light cameras to counties outside of New York City. Did he have a sudden change of heart in regards to his privacy concerns? No, not in the least bit.  It turns out the bill he sponsored contained language that benefited a specific company that employed one of his former aides as a lobbyist.

This is the exactly what is wrong with our state government & government as a whole. There are too many people making decisions that benefit their own agenda or someone they care about or owe a favor to. Benjamin K. of Second Avenue Sagas nailed it perfectly when he said:

In the end, New York City is at the mercy of people who have other interests and don’t live in the city. These are people who don’t know why we need Bus Rapid Transit and aren’t content to let New York City’s own Council determine the appropriate courses of action. Instead, they’re happy to reap the economic benefits of New York City while utterly depriving the residents of much-needed transportation solutions such as bus rapid transit lanes. Last time, we had Sheldon Silver — a Manhattan-based representative — to thank; this time, we’ve got David F. Gnatt

At some point, these shenanigans have got to stop. As I’m just left annoyed and wondering when some real leadership will land in the state of assembly, can New York City secede in the meantime?

I highly suggest reading his entry on the defeat of this bill. Also check out Ben Fried’s report on Streetsblog where the news of the bill being defeated first broke.

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