Special election not over yet, state budget hits snags, doubts about Tuffey's ghost ticket testimony, CDTA fare hike takes effect, milk spilled in Troy

The special election in the 20th Congressional District isn't over. Initial tallies indicate that Scott Murphy leads Jim Tedisco by as few as 59 votes and as many as 65 votes. Here's a county-by-county breakdown of the totals. There are about 6000 absentee ballots that need to be counted -- they've been impounded and won't be counted until Monday at the earliest. As you might expect, both campaigns think they'll come out ahead in the final count. There are some indications the parties are already gearing up for a Coleman-Franken-like recount. [TU] [Daily Politics] [WNYT] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star] [Saratogian] [Daily Politics]

Voters told reporters the top issue in the race was, surprise: the economy (great quote about Tedisco: "He's like a little bulldog."). There was a little bit of drama for voters on the Skidmore campus. And apparently some people in Schenectady showed up at the polls looking to vote -- except that Schenectady's not in the 20th (for what it's worth, Tedisco wasn't able to vote either). Many voters said they're just happy the TV ads, polling and robocalls are over. [Post-Star] [TU] [TU] [Saratogian]

The state budget isn't wrapped up yet (the official deadline was midnight last night) -- in part because Republican Senators, upset about the budget, stalled for a while yesterday and a Democratic Senator had to be taken to the hospital. [TU] [Daily Politics]

Three state Senators, including Neil Breslin, have asked David Paterson to meet with the state worker unions about the layoffs Paterson says are on the way. [Biz Review]

Still stung by the cut to Saratoga County's VLT aid, political leaders there seem to be missing Joe Bruno. [TU]

Both a retired Albany cop and the head of the police officers' union say that APD chief James Tuffey didn't tell the whole story about the ghost ticket stickers when the chief testified before the Common Council this week. [TU]

Prosecutors in the Albany triple murder case showed crime scene video of the three bodies yesterday in court. Many people started crying and some had to leave the courtroom. Attorneys for the defendant, Jovan Underdue, have been arguing that investigators didn't follow up on all the potential leads. [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

The CDTA 50 cent fare increase takes effect today. Here's the new fare schedule. [Daily Gazette] [CDTA]

The last of the five official finalists for the UAlbany presidency has dropped out of the running. A source tells the TU the school's search could still be completed soon. [TU]

Federal stimulus money will go toward cleaning up contaminated dirt at the Knolls Atomic Power Lab and shipping it to Utah. [Daily Gazette]

The Troy Local Development Corporation hired a photographer to document two historic buildings that are soon to be demolished. [Troy Record]

A truck carrying as much as 7,000 gallons of milk tipped over at the corner of Oakwood Ave and Northern Drive yesterday in Troy, spilling its contents all over the place. There were no reports of crying. [Troy Record]

Comments

Today's secret word of the day is: CONFICKER

RE: Milk Truck Tips Over:
Outdoor cats of Troy rejoice! Several owners report cats returning home with milk mustaches.

I just love (hip-hip-hoo)Ray's quote in that Gazette article, “Raising fares and reducing service at time when more people are riding is necessary to advance our plans to serve more people in the Capital Region,” said CDTA Executive Director Ray Melleady.

Is that the spin they teach you when you become President of the New York Public Transit Association?

C'mon, Ray -- you can do better than that.

And stop feeding us this line (from the article), "It is the first fare increase in 14 years."

The dismantling of a transfer system was an effectual (if not official) fare hike.

So the KAPL cleanup goes on; what about the NL site on Central Ave that is just sitting idly by full of radiological/chemical pollutants?

I guess because there's a chain-link fence there it's OK.

For what it's worth, I think people must have shown up to vote in East Greenbush, too -- our library had a sign on the door that said "There is no voting in the Town of East Greenbush today". Rensselaer and part of East Greenbush are a little carveout from the 20th.

Does anyone know if the coke plant and King Fuels office are included in the demolition in Troy or just the former Burden Iron Works buildings?

If you're interested, most of the photos from this set were taken in these buildings:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/no3rdw/sets/72157605743091853/

The CDTA fare hike works out to be $4 million in additional fares, mostly to make up for the $4 million dollar state aid cut. oops.

http://www.cdta.org/pdfs/CDTA%20Budget/CDTA%20DRAFT%20Budget%20%20fiscal%20Year%202009%20-%202010.pdf

Your bus fares will be helping to balance the state budget.

That said the 10-fare PAPER cards are crap, and CDTA knows it. That's why they are so highly discounted (a 16% discount over cash farres). CDTA is good about replacing them if you get them jammed in the machines, but it's a hassle. They have to be kept perfectly straight, not at all damp, or they will never come out of the machine. You can't keep the 10-ride fare cards in a wallet. They must be kept in a museum under climate control in a binder.

Maybe they have special envelopes where they carry around cards at CDTA headquarters. And it never rains or snows there.

The Swiper, made out of TOXIC PVC plastic is the only way to go. Of course, you don't get much of a discount unless you ride a lot. You have to ride 37 buses a month to break even with cash fare. With the old swiper, it was 36 buses a month to break even with cash.

$36 monthly swiper / 36 rides = $1 per ride
$55 monthly swiper / 36 rides = $1.52 per ride.

$36 * 152% = $55

not exactly a 50% fare increase either. it's a 52% fare increase on the Swiper card.

Oops.

Granted there are 22 week days in April, 21 week days in May, and 22 weekdays in June. I guess if you ride the bus everyday, never taking a bike or driving in one day, then you enjoy a discount.

21 days * 2 (to work and home) = 42 rides at $1.31 piece.
20 * 2 = 40 rides at $1.37 piece.
19 * 2 = 38 rides at $1.44 piece.
18 * 2 = 38 rides at $1.52 piece.

Granted, your entitled to park in Albany Parking Authority Central Avenue lots for 5-days a month with your Swiper card for free, and the tickets give you from the time you park until 4 PM the NEXT DAY, at least if you get there after 9 AM. Of course, there is always ample on street parking in that neighborhood, which makes it moot point.

If you know exactly how late you expect to be at work prior to 5 PM, after buses stop running, there also always is the option of Guaranteed Ride Home program. Of course there is limits on how many times you can use it in a month/year.

Then again, Swipers are great if you have to transfer buses, or want to stop to get groceries on the way home. I've started doing that a lot more lately.

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