Taxi gab: Governor in talks to resolve cab issue

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It’s a hail storm in the city, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg urges Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill into law that would grant taxi service to the outer boroughs.

The plan, which passed the legislature in June, would allow livery drivers to pick up passengers in northern Manhattan, as well as the other four boroughs, in areas that see little to no taxi service. The bill called for the city to issue up to 30,000 three-year, $1,500 permits to livery car drivers. It also called for the auction of 1,500 regular taxi medallions.

“It also will generate a billion dollars of revenue for the city at a time when we have $5 billion deficits we’re trying to close,” the mayor said during a WCBS radio address on December 8. “A billion would make a very big difference.”

Cuomo said that talks have not resolved the problems he sees in the legislation – problems like the percentage of livery and new medallion taxis that should be accessible to the disabled and whether livery cabs can pick up at airports. The meter is running out and if the governor does not sign the bill into law by December 21, talks would not resume until January or February.

“There’s a myriad of issues and they’re all significant,” the governor said in a statement. “I said from day one if we don’t have a resolution of these issues, I’m going to veto the bill.”

The governor called for a summit of the stakeholders involved in the taxi legislation negotiations in order to resolve the outstanding issues. The summit was held on Wednesday, December 14, and the results of the meeting were not available as of press time.

“As we have said all along, we are working very hard to reach consensus with the stakeholders in order to address taxi access issues in the five boroughs,” said a spokesperson for the governor. “The issues are not primarily governmental ones among the governor, the state legislature and the city. There are, however, remaining issues among the various stakeholders, business and advocacy groups whose interests must be reconciled.”