As New York State and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) continue to move ahead with the implementation of congestion pricing, Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) called on Gov. Hochul to provide a common-sense and necessary exemption for law enforcement, first responders and essential employees who commute into Manhattan.
Essential workers, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, New York City
municipal workers, and more, play an invaluable role in our community’s well-being. Although the proposed congestion pricing implementation is aimed at funding the MTA capital budget, exempting our first responders from this additional burden aligns with their vital contributions to public safety and well- being. This not only supports those who selflessly serve our community but also fosters a fair and equitable transportation policy.
“It is outrageous that our police, EMS, fire rescue and other essential employees who serve the residents of New York City are going to be nickeled and dimed by the MTA just for going to work,” said Slater. “The value of their service is immensely greater than the amount of money they will be forced to pay to the MTA through congestion pricing. For once I hope common sense prevails in Albany.”
At last week's joint budget hearing for transportation, Slater asked MTA Chairman, Janno Leiber, if he was considering any exemptions for first responders to which he testified that there are currently no exemptions for these essential workers included in the rollout of congestion pricing.
In response to the chairman's testimony, lawmakers in Albany support this exemption and urge the governor to make the right decision, acknowledging the need to appreciate and support our essential workers—especially during times of financial challenges and burdens.
“The MTA’s Congestion Pricing scheme is yet another reason for experienced Detectives to turn in their gold shields for retirement. The added, unnecessary expense will push Detectives out and drive crime in the city up — all while the economy of New York City suffers,” said DEA President Paul DiGiacomo.
“As a former law enforcement officer, I understand the contributions that are made daily by our cops, firefighters, and other first responders and essential workers. Implementing congestion pricing without exempting these dedicated individuals not only creates a financial burden for working families, but also jeopardizes public safety. Governor Hochul must recognize the sacrifices made by this group and provide the necessary exemptions to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R,C-Staten Island).
“This oversight in congestion pricing for Manhattan not only represents an effort to divert funds
from local taxpayers to cover the MTA’s questionable spending, but, more critically, it signifies an unjust imposition on those who protect our communities. I stand firmly against burdening our essential workers with this tax. Careful policy implementation is crucial, especially when considering how it will impact the lives of those it affects,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square).
Click here for the letter sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul