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State Judge Rejects Five-Borough Taxi Plan


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A state judge slammed the brakes on the city's proposed Granny Smith-colored cabs, which would have opened up cab service to all five boroughs for the first time.


In a 22-page decision, State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said the city violated the state constitution by circumventing the City Council and getting Albany to approve the taxi plan instead of its own legislature.


"Outside forces should not be allowed to tinker with a system so delicately balanced," the judge wrote in his decision.


The plan would have allowed the city to sell 18,000 permits for cabs to service all five boroughs. It also would have allowed the city to sell 2,000 new medallions for wheelchair-accessible cabs. The city was relying on the sale of those medallions to raise $635 million in revenue for this year's budget.


It was a proposal that was brought in with much fanfare, including a cab ride to the Bronx.


City Hall said it plans to appeal the decision.


"We will appeal this, we will win and the five-borough plan will go into effect," said Taxi and Limousine Commission Commissioner David Yassky. "But it means New Yorkers will have to wait a few more months. And it means we will have to plug a budget hole that this has now opened."


The budget hole was an issue some officials were not taking lightly.


"The reality is we now have a $635 million hole in our budget because we lose projected revenue from the sale of taxi medallions," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "More importantly, New Yorkers beyond Manhattan, the people who live in our outer boroughs, are going to be treated like second-class citizens."


But some in the yellow cab industry were celebrating the decision.


"We applaud the judge's decision and we believe we are going to find a solution but not a solution that hurts two industries, that divides two industries," said Fernando Mateo of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers.


At least for now, the green cabs have gone sour.


Source + Video: http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/transit/167060/state-judge-rejects-five-borough-taxi-plan

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