July 16, 2003Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Law
"The next bill before me is Introductory Number 496-A, sponsored at my request by Council Members Weprin, Comrie, Liu and Jennings. This enabling legislation would authorize the Taxi and Limousine Commission to issue additional medallions upon the completion of all necessary environmental reviews. Of the total number of new taxicab licenses to be issued through this legislation, 9% will be subject to the requirement that vehicles be fully accessible to persons with disabilities in accordance with the standards established by the TLC. An additional 9% will be subject to the requirement that these vehicles will be powered by compressed natural gas or be a hybrid electric vehicle.
"The primary objective of this legislation is to expand and upgrade the mobility of New Yorkers and visitors by improving the City's demand-responsive transportation services. There are currently 12,187 taxicab licenses in the City. An increase of 900 medallions would increase the total number of licensed taxicabs by 7.38%. Notwithstanding the recent economic downturn in economic activity, taxicab ridership during 2002 was estimated by the TLC to be 238 million passengers, the highest since 1999, and the second highest in recent history.
"The sale of taxicab licenses provided for in this legislation would result in additional revenue of $65 million generated over a three-year period. This legislation provides the TLC flexibility to sell medallions when they determine market conditions are best.
"This legislation addresses two areas of concern to the TLC and the Administration: promoting alternative fuel vehicles and the provision of transportation services to persons with disabilities. By providing that 9% of the vehicles from each sale are accessible, we are reaffirming our commitment to providing transportation to persons with disabilities. Such service will supplement TLC initiatives to provide accessible for-hire services pursuant to its rules. Likewise, the set-aside for alternative fuel vehicles demonstrates a commitment to a cleaner environment. This initiative will supplement other efforts the TLC has made to protect the environment, including mandatory vehicle retirement and tri-annual vehicle inspections."