Thursday, June 28, 2007

NYRI? Sounds Great!

About a million downstate voters became supporters of the NYRI powerline yesterday.

"It was chaos," said motorist Edward Ankudavich, who spent an hour traveling 20 blocks in the Bronx.

The blackout affected approximately 385,000 people, Consolidated Edison Chief Executive Kevin Burke said at a news conference. The outage began at 3:42 p.m. and all power was restored by 4:30 p.m., he said.

"We view this as a significant event," Burke said. But with a season of high electricity demand only beginning, he strove to reassure New Yorkers that the "likelihood of this happening again is very low."

The city was in the second day of temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. Visitors at the Met were forced to sit on the outside steps in the sweltering heat. Traffic lights up and down the east side of Manhattan and the Bronx were out, causing heavy gridlock. Lights went out around Yankee Stadium, and subway and train service was disrupted all around New York, which consumes more power on a hot summer day than the entire nation of Chile.

Every one of the people inconvenienced by yesterday's blackout thinks NYRI sounds like a great idea now. Is that rational? Not at all, but that doesn't matter. They're all going to support anything that even remotely promises to keep it from happening again, and that's just what the NYRI proposal was crafted to do.

I know some of you will be saying "It's not about upstate versus downstate. We're all in this together!", but you're wrong. The steamroller is coming, and it isn't going to stop for a few petitions and some protest signs.