Planes Trains & Automobiles
At a Democratic mayoral forum this morning focusing on New York City’s transportation policies, the candidates often agreed on many of the issues–stated support for bike lanes, for example–but starkly disagreed when it came to several topics, including school bus contracts.
Setting up the dispute, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the leading candidate for the teachers’ union endorsement set to be announced later this afternoon, defended pricey school bus driver contracts and provisions that protect current employees.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
He may not be seeking a fourth term, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg will nonetheless have an outsized influence in the coming years on City Hall.
With just 203 days left of his administration, Mr. Bloomberg unveiled a far-ranging, 250-plus-point plan to harden the city against future storms like Hurricane Sandy, dumping a massive–and hugely expensive–$19.5 billion to-do list on his successor’s lap.
On his weekly radio show with John Gambling this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delved into history to argue massive coastline protection projects are futile, at least in the face of future storm surges similar to Hurricane Sandy’s. Specifically, Mr. Bloomberg referenced the tale of Denmark’s King Canute, who stood before the waves and ordered the tide to recede.
“If you build a house on the water, there’s a chance of tsunamis, tidal surge, big storms that come off the water,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “That’s why insurance is so expensive on the water. People have been doing this from time and memorial ever since civilization started. Why do people do it? Because living on the water, for a lot of people, is a great experience and they’re willing to run the risks. Nobody’s happy when nature comes to call and everybody screams we should have done something different. In a practical sense you’re not going to build a wall from the Florida Keys to the northern tip of Maine to protect the whole coast. In fact, you probably could not do that. There’ll never be a technology that can do that. If you remember, King Canute of Denmark tried to stop the tides from coming. It’s a classic story.”
With his eye on a mayoral race that will play in the backdrop of a city economy still struggling, City Comptroller John Liu announced a plan this morning that he said would create 15,000 jobs by accelerating capital projects already in the pipeline.
“By accelerating projects already in the pipeline the City can jump-start 15,000 jobs – at a time when the construction industry is still struggling and unemployment is stubbornly high, especially among minorities.” Mr. Liu said. “The plan addresses infrastructure challenges such as school overcrowding, deteriorating roads and bridges, and the need for new and better parks. It also offers an opportunity to save taxpayer money by taking advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and relatively low construction costs.”