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New York’s Congestion Pricing Plan Quite Literally Threatens Public Safety

The MTA’s admission that the congestion pricing plan will not effectively reduce traffic adds another layer of concern

  |   By Polling+ Staff

New York City, facing a shortage of essential personnel, is on the brink of a potentially devastating crisis as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) pushes forward with its aggressive congestion pricing plan. The plan is designed to combat traffic and reduce congestion in the city, but critics say it will inadvertently lead to a critical shortage of paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

One of the glaring issues with the congestion pricing plan is its impact on the already strained EMT workforce. Some 400 EMT workers stationed at the busiest emergency service stations in Manhattan will be required to pay $15 every time they enter the congestion zone. These essential workers, responsible for saving lives, are essentially being asked to pay for the privilege of performing their life-saving duties.

The financial burden on EMTs is substantial, with salaries maxing out at $59,534 for EMTs and $75,872 for medics. For new EMTs earning $39,386, the annual cost from congestion pricing could amount to over 10% of their overall compensation, creating a significant financial strain.

The consequences of this plan extend beyond the financial burden on individual EMTs. The nature of their work requires them to commute, given the affordability challenges of living in the city on their salaries. This raises concerns about the ability to attract and retain qualified personnel, ultimately leading to higher response times during emergencies.

Furthermore, the MTA’s admission that the congestion pricing plan will not effectively reduce traffic adds another layer of concern. The 2045 outlook shows an increase in overall city traffic, with no meaningful reduction in the plan’s Manhattan core. The fees collected from the tolls may also fall short of projections, as evidenced by London’s congestion pricing scheme, which generates only about $400 million per year.

Democratic Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, says the plan is just another big tax, calling it a “money grab” by New York. Murphy faults the Biden administration for approving the plan.