Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Tunnel from Gracie Mansion to the Executive Mansion

Cross-posted from

Was Michael Bloomberg’s white knight approach to a Hudson River commuter tunnel the first salvo in his presidential run against his neighboring naysayer-in-chief, Chris Christie? 

Recently, the New York City mayor announced a concept to expand the city’s subway lines under the Hudson River to connect with the New Jersey Transit system in Secaucus.  This comes on the heels of Governor Christie’s squandering of almost one billion dollars in sunk costs, penalties, and remedial construction after the governor’s cancellation of the ongoing project to double the NJ Transit/Amtrak trans-Hudson capacity.

Of course, Chris Christie has repeatedly denied that he is running for president, and he’s never lied to us before.  His blunt style has always been well-received by the right wing, and his pandering to the extreme fringe, such as his recent revelation that he is a global warming skeptic, are indications that he is positioning himself for national office.  So Bloomberg’s timing is curious.  Why didn’t he chime in during the debate instead of waiting for Christie to fail to come up with an alternate solution?

Mayor Bloomberg has stated that he would not consider a run unless he could count on the 270 electoral votes required to win.  He does have the advantage of tremendous wealth, and with no need to be on the rubber chicken fundraising circuit, he could devote all of his time to developing the nationwide relationships and infrastructure that he would need in a presidential run.  His rescue of the tunnel resonates with left-leaning infrastructure weenies like me, and his fiscal conservative creds help him with moderate Republicans (if there are any) and Blue Dog Democrats.

The country is frustrated with the speed at which Barack Obama is extricating us from the Bush Recession, and by 2012, with the Republicans in charge of the House, the vast majority of middle-of-the-road voters will see that the “party of NO” is just an empty shell catering to their corporate masters.  A fresh approach has a good chance of being effective, and no doubt Michael Bloomberg will continue to use his clout as the most powerful mayor in the nation and his personal fortune to convince us that he provides that choice.

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