Why Is David Gantt Still Running the Assembly Transpo Committee?

gantt.jpegThe Times published a great reminder today about last month's bus camera vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee, which weakened the city's plans for Bus Rapid Transit. The editorial page wonders why David Gantt, who for years has obstructed life-saving, transit-enhancing traffic enforcement measures, is still in charge of the committee:

Mr. Gantt is a Democratic assemblyman from Rochester. That's the Rochester that is 333 miles from Times Square. He has long controlled the State Assembly's Transportation Committee with an iron fist, micromanaging New York City’s traffic from afar and for bewildering reasons. At one point this year, when journalists asked him why he was blocking a particular city traffic bill, he said: “That's for me to know and you to find out.” So much for transparency in Albany.

It makes no sense for one upstate legislator to strangle progress -- and safety -- in New York City. This should be a matter decided by New York's mayor and City Council. Since it is not, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his Democratic majority should replace committee chairmen like Mr. Gantt who have clearly been there too long. If he won't, the voters should.

That raises a good question. Letting Gantt ride roughshod over New York City's interests probably isn't winning over Silver's constituents in the 64th District, or anyone else in the five boroughs. Why is the Speaker allowing the safety of his city's streets and the efficiency of its buses to be compromised by a Rochester legislator any longer?

If that's a question that puzzles you too, here's a group you may want to join.