Cash tolls at the Verrazano Bridge hit a whopping $15 last March. Apparently, that’s not high enough for Chuck Schumer.
Schumer may have nothing against motorists or taxpayers and would likely deny he wants to raise their expenses. But that would be the undeniable consequence if he succeeds in his shilling for steel unions.
In a letter sent last week to MTA chief Tom Prendergast, Schumer says China’s state subsidies, looser regulations and cheap currency give its steel companies “a significant competitive advantage.” For that reason, the MTA should “do everything in its power to avoid purchasing from these companies.”
China does indeed subsidize some of its industries, including steel, with its policies. But it’s not the MTA’s mission to create employment for American workers. The MTA’s job is to keep New York’s transportation system in good repair at good value for the people who pay for it: the taxpayers. And if China’s lighter regulatory hand gives its companies a competitive edge in this global economy, maybe Schumer should be looking to lower our regulatory burden.
The math is telling. According to the authority, going with US steel firms instead of the lower-priced Chinese would see the $34 million price tag expand fourfold — to $134 million. That’s a lot to ask of already beleaguered motorists and taxpayers.
Even worse, because US companies aren’t prepared to start work immediately, the MTA says, the bridge project would have to be delayed.
Clearly, the agency wants to promote US jobs if it can; it’s been working with industry officials to that end. That’s great: the more suppliers, the better. And if Americans can do the job as well as the Chinese, and for the same price or less, better still.
Meanwhile, it would be nice to see Schumer looking out for all his constituents in New York instead of limiting his advocacy to the special-interest labor big shots — who have no qualms about, uh, steeling taxpayer dollars.