ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Cuomo will veto a bill to allow livery cabs to pick up street hails unless it is amended to require that every medallion in a new batch of yellow cabs be specifically for taxis accessible to the disabled, the Daily News has learned.
The bill — passed in June and backed by Mayor Bloomberg — would permit the 30,000 livery cars in the city to pick up passengers on the street, as opposed to just serving customers who call ahead for a ride.
The bill also calls for the Taxi and Limousine Commission to sell up to 1,500 new yellow cab medallions, with 569 of those cabs being accessible to disabled riders.
Cuomo has previously raised concerns about the need for more cabs accessible to the disabled, but the development is the first word that the governor is pushing an all-or-nothing position in talks with lawmakers, sources said.
There are currently 231 city cabs that are equipped to handle disabled passengers. In a civil court filing in October, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office charged that the city is nowhere near complying with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act when it comes to taxis for the disabled.
Cuomo and legislative leaders are still hashing out other changes to the bill, which, if approved, could mean $1 billion in new revenue for the cash-strapped city, the sources said.
A legislative source said there shouldn’t be a problem meeting the governor’s demand. The source said a tentative deal is in place to increase the number of new yellow cab medallions to 2,000, with all of them being for cabs accessible to the disabled.
“I think we’ve gotten to the point where everyone agrees that all new yellow cab medallions be wheelchair accessible,” said Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat who has pushed a bill for widespread accessibility.
There is also talk of significantly scaling back the number of livery cars. One legislative source said that power brokers are currently discussing a proposal to cut the number of livery-car permits to 17,000, with 2,000 of them being accessible to the disabled.
Bloomberg spokesman Mark Botnick wouldn’t discuss specifics of the talks, but said, “We are working collaboratively with the governor and the Legislature to reach a positive resolution.”
Monday, December 12, 2011
NY Daily News:
Posted by BA Haller at 8:30 PM