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Congestion plan endangered by mayor’s GOP gift

Bloomberg riled state Democrats this week when he donated half a million dollars to state Republicans and defended signing the check by arguing that the Democratic-controlled Assembly did not always have New York City's best interests in mind."In terms of making a donation to help the Republicans, they've been there for us," Bloomberg told The New York Times. "I've said repeatedly, I will help those who help us. They've come and stood up for the city a number of times when we needed to have a voice in Albany and didn't have that voice from the Assembly or from the governor, whether it was the last governor or this governor," the mayor added. State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said Bloomberg's donation was an attempt to help state Republicans retain control of the state Senate with one remaining seat at stake, but could come at the cost of his congestion pricing plan, which needs the approval of the state Legislature to move forward."He's injecting himself into the fight between the Senate Republicans and the Senate Democrats. He's inviting the parties in that fight to use congestion pricing in the context of their fight for the Senate, and that's not going to be helpful," Lancman said."The Republicans are in their death throes. Every issue that's before the Senate is viewed and acted upon as how this will affect the Republican majority, whereas the Democrats view every issue as how can we undermine the Republicans," Lancman said. "The mayor's comments are feeding into that political debate and don't really help moving the issue of how do we reduce traffic congestion along."State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who is on the Senate Transportation Committee, disagreed."I think we are sufficiently professional in our judgments that when it comes to carrying out our governmental mission, we won't forget [Bloomberg's donation], but we will vote unrelated to the politics going on around us."Lancman said regardless of what happens to congestion pricing in the Senate, he does not believe it will get a passing vote in the Assembly, and Bloomberg's comments did little to help that."The mayor's comments are politicizing the issue. It's putting it in the context of whose better for the city, the Assembly or the Senate," he said. "If it were a stock, I'd short it."Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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