"Today is Monday. There is work to be done."
So said David Paterson, who was sworn in as New York's 55th governor just after 1:00 this afternoon. Two Mondays from now, the City Council and state Legislature will need to have adopted a congestion pricing plan if the city is to receive $354 million in federal transportation funds. Opinions on whether the governor will work to make that happen still vary wildly, even among those who've talked to people close to Paterson.
Here is the Daily News, from Friday:
Incoming Gov. David Paterson may have declined to take a stand on congestion pricing Thursday - but members of his inner circle have been lobbying for the proposal.
During his first press conference since Gov. Spitzer resigned in disgrace, Paterson said he needed to delve deeper into details of the plan to charge motorists $8 to drive south of 60th St.
"Although the mayor has not directly discussed congestion pricing with him, it would seem to be a good sign that people very close to the new governor are supportive," a City Hall source said.
Former Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch and former Paterson campaign manager Luther Smith have been pitching the toll scheme as a way to fund mass transit improvements in underserved minority communities.
Smith is president of Lynch's lobbying firm, Bill Lynch Associates, which has been doing pro-pricing outreach for Communities United for Transportation Equity.
Both Lynch and Smith are advising Paterson as he makes the transition to the state's highest office.