Cuomo, NYC Commissioner: No Taxi Deal Yet

A two-hour meeting in Albany failed to settle an attempt to expand NYC taxi sevice to outer boroughs

Closed-door negotiations on Wednesday failed to settle a longstanding attempt to greatly expand New York City taxi service to the outer boroughs. But the meeting served to revive the issue and its chances of settlement before a pending bill is vetoed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said Thursday after the two-hour meeting in Albany that talks will continue to try to resolve a dispute over whether to allow street hails of some livery cabs in residential areas.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also hoping a deal will bring $1 billion in revenue to the city, which could help address a deficit in the city budget.

Cuomo says major issues remain unresolved, including providing enough service to the disabled in specially equipped vehicles, but a deal is possible.

"I think we made good progress," said Cuomo, a week after negotiations appeared to end. "There are a number of significant issues ... You are talking about people's livelihoods," Cuomo said, referring to medallion owners, taxi drivers and cab company owners.

"We had a very productive discussion," Yassky said after the meeting. He wouldn't comment further.

Cars accessible to the disabled are expensive, and could be unaffordable based on the projected revenue, Cuomo said, relaying some of the debate to reporters.

"We don't have a good answer for that now," Cuomo said. "It's really important to me that it's accessible to the disabled."

There is also concern about enforcement of any plan, and transferability of any permits for cars in the outer boroughs.

Cuomo said he may still veto the bill passed by the Legislature if the current talks fail to arrive at a consensus. He said all sides are concerned that a new bill couldn't be passed by the Legislature.

"Their point is it can't be voted on because it's too controversial," Cuomo said. "I do have a bias to make progress when I can." He would not say whether he thinks a deal is likely, however.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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