12:16 pm Aug. 22, 2012
On Sunday, for the first time ever, Council Speaker Christine Quinn expressed an opinion on the mayor’s stalled plan to bring taxi service to the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan.
“This is an important case because it deals with whether or not there will be taxi service that’s really accessible to people geographically throughout all of the city,” said Quinn on WNYC, of a judge’s decision last week to declare “null and void” a state-approved plan to create 18,000 lime-green borough taxis and sell 2,000 wheelchair-accessible yellow taxi medallions.
The judge's main beef with the Bloomberg administration was that it failed to get approval from the City Council, technically known as a "home rule" request, before seeking it in Albany.
The Bloomberg administration actually talked to Council representatives early on in the process. It's never been explained publicly why the negotiations broke down between the administration and the Council, or at least what it was that caused the administration ultimately to do an end-run around the Council by going straight to Albany.
In a brief interview with Capital yesterday, Quinn said she didn't know what prompted City Hall to leave the table.
"I don't know that we weren't able to reach an agreement," Quinn said. "The administration decided to go to Albany. Why they made that decision, people there will have to answer for you."
Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the mayor, only said, "We had discussions with the Council that did not result in agreement and decided to pursue legislation in Albany when informed that a home rule was not necessary."
The city plans to appeal last week's ruling immediately, but for the forseeable future, there will be no taxis for the outer boroughs, and there will be no $635 million to fund this year's city budget and a loss of some $1.46 billion through fiscal year 2015.
As Quinn said in the WNYC interview, "We will have to find ways to make up those hundreds of millions of dollars, which short of there being an unexpected increase in tax revenues, would mean we’d have to find places in the budget where we would have to cut back."
More by this author:
- Albany's unlikely marijuana legalization champion sees interest, but no movement yet
- Bloomberg pans a Cuomo-backed answer to Albany corruption