After months of wrangling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday the city and state officials had come to an agreement over a contentious plan to allow livery cabs to pick up street hails in the outer boroughs and Upper Manhattan.
The agreement came shortly before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Wednesday deadline to sign or veto the bill. State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who voted against the plan, said the governor has 10 days to sign or veto a bill after it is delivered to him. While the plan was passed by the state Legislature in July, it was near the end of the Legislature’s session.
The state Assembly held on to the bill and delivered it to him Dec. 12.
The plan will create 30,000 permits for livery cabs that can take street hails. As part of the agreement, 2,000 new yellow taxi medallions, all of which will be for handicapped-accessible vehicles, will be sold. Originally the plan called for creating 1,500 new taxi medallions, only some of which would have been handicapped-accessible.
“I think no one thought we’d ever get this done, but I kept saying and the governor kept saying this is going to happen,” Bloomberg said. “We never gave up.”
The legislation divided both taxi advocates and Queens legislators. While some argued for it on the basis of the lack of access to taxi transportation in the outer boroughs and Upper Manhattan, others were concerned that the plan did not provide enough service for handicapped riders, the influx of new permits would saturate the market and livery cabs would abandon pre-arranged calls to pick up street hails.
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