Police union's Pat Lynch: Cops should be exempt from Manhattan congestion pricing

David Caplan
April 09, 2019 - 6:58 pm
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Lawmakers in New Jersey aren't the only ones who have an issue with the state's Manhattan congestion pricing plan: Pat Lynch, president of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, says first responders and public employees -- notably police officers -- should be exempt from paying. 

"It should include exemptions for first responders and other public employees in critical roles," Lynch wrote in an op-ed for the Daily News. "Official emergency vehicles — patrol cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc. — should obviously be exempt. But those vehicles don’t run unless first responders are able to get to work. We shouldn’t have to pay a toll every time we report for duty."

He explains, "The burden should not fall on the backs of already underpaid city workers, especially not the public safety professionals who protect the public."

RELATED: Murphy, Menendez slam Cuomo's congestion pricing: It's 'on the backs of New Jerseyans' | Drivers react to congestion pricing: 'They’re gonna take your clothes off' | Lawmakers vote on budget bills that include congestion pricing, plastic bag ban | A look at key items in New York's $175.5 billion budget plan

Specifically addressing police officers, he writes, "Police officers should receive an exemption because we require the greatest possible flexibility to get to work. Our regular work schedules are anything but regular. We protect New York City 24 hours a day, 365 days year, and we are often required to report for duty at times and locations that are not adequately served by any form of mass transit."

But transit advocates balked at Lynch's argument to be exempt from the fees.

“Each congestion pricing carve-out will make commuting more expensive for millions of New Yorkers, by cutting transit funding, hiking tolls, or both,” Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance told StreetsBlog. “When one group wants special treatment, we should ask ourselves if that’s so important it’s worth the rest of us paying more.”

The Transportation Alternative's Joe Cutrufo, also blasted Lynch's idea.

“NYPD officers already get to park their personal vehicles for free," he told StreetsBlog. "Why would we offer yet another incentive for police officers to drive into the most congested part of the city? If we’re giving police an exemption for their private cars, then do we also have to exempt other first responders? What about doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who also work non-traditional hours? Where do we draw the line? It’s a slippery slope, and every carveout means that those who aren’t exempt will have to pay more.”

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