New York vaccination passport could cost taxpayers $ 17 million
Thousands of people are already flashing the pass at Yankees and Mets gaming and comedy clubs in New York City, as well as at the doorstep of a small number of bars and restaurants, to prove their immunization status or show recent test results. The program is voluntary and optional: paper cards, the state said, must also be accepted as proof of vaccination. The pass could also become largely obsolete when the state makes most virus restrictions optional in the coming weeks.
But civil liberties and government watch groups are increasingly concerned that those who do not have smartphones and those who cannot or do not want to obtain passes will not have equal access to all uses. that will exist for the application.
Albert Fox Cahn, Executive Director of the Surveillance Technology Supervision Project, who filed the Freedom of Information request to secure the contract, said he felt it was “indefensible” that the state publicly disclosed only the initial cost of the Excelsior pass, when the contract reveals the framework for a more ambitious and costly effort. .
The minimum cost of the contract is almost $ 10 million over three years. The state can terminate the contract for “convenience or cause” with one month’s notice at any time.
“Considering the millions they plan to invest to extend it and the length of the three-year contract, we have to ask ourselves what is the next step? Mr. Cahn said. “Because this is such a heavy issue, the state should go beyond the level of transparency that we normally use in public procurement, without trying to lower the bar. “
Freeman Klopott, a spokesperson for the state budget office, said the state had only discussed the initial cost of $ 2.5 million because that was what it had already spent. “Like many state contracts, this contract includes options that the state may or may not undertake, including additional fiscal capacity that may not be required,” he said.
Mr Klopott added that the state is negotiating the scope and cost of Phase 2 of the Excelsior pass with IBM. . “