FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2011
REMARKS OF MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON HISTORIC FIVE-BOROUGH TAXI LEGISLATION
Following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's Remarks as Delivered Tonight
Images of the Mayor calling into the press conference are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycmayorsoffice/
Video of the Mayor's remarks has been fed on switch port CTY-3 and will be re-fed at 7:15 PM
"David, thank you. Mylan, thank you. Let me first start out by saying I want to thank the Governor for signing this bill that will benefit millions of New York City residents and people that come to visit our city.
"I think no one thought we'd ever get this done, but I kept saying and the Governor kept saying this is going to happen. We never gave up. We never stop working and making the case. The Assembly and the Senate and the Governor's Office and the City Administration all working together. So I just wanted to thank everyone that helped get us across the finish line.
"As David said, this process really began last January when we announced that our Administration would seek to achieve a goal that really has eluded the City for three decades - bringing legal taxi service to the seven million New Yorkers who live outside Manhattan's central business district.
"And today, together the City and the State, we have achieved that landmark goal. And it's a huge victory for all New Yorkers who ever sought to hail a cab outside Manhattan and in northern Manhattan.
"The new law will make getting around town easier, safer and less costly for millions of New Yorkers. It will make an enormous improvement in the getting of service for people with disabilities that need to have the ability to get around. Mass transit is a basic of any big city, and this will make it much more available to everybody.
"And I think, in all fairness, it is a testament to Matt Sapolin, former late Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. This is part of his life's work, and I got to believe that Matt is looking down right now with a big smile on his face.
"It will also bring thousands of hard-working livery drivers - many of them immigrants - out of the shadows and into the legal economy. This will benefit both drivers, but also taxpayers and subway riders, because the new taxis - like all current taxis - will generate revenue that is dedicated to the MTA.
"The new law and the agreement reached today will also generate a much needed billion-odd dollars in revenue for the City through the sale of 2,000 new yellow medallions, all of which, as David or as Mylan said, will be wheelchair accessible. In fact, today's agreement, by increasing the number of medallions sold by 500, will provide even more revenue for the City than the original bill passed in June.
"So let me once again thank Governor Cuomo for his support. From day one, the Governor and I kept saying it is going to get done. We each have our own constituencies to make sure their concerns are taken care of. We've done that.
"I also wanted to thank Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver for their strong leadership. And I want to thank their counsels, Mylan Denerstein, Diane Burman and Jim Yates for their enormous amount of hard work, and for their close collaboration with our team at City Hall.
"And also a special thanks to the Chair of the Assembly Cities Committee, Carl Heastie, as well as Assemblymen Karim Camara and Guillermo Linares. Thanks to their leadership in taking on this challenge in partnership with the City's Taxi and Limousine Commission Chair David Yassky, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, and our Director of State Legislative Affairs, Micah Lasher.
"I think it's fair to say the long quest for five borough taxi service will soon be a reality, and it will positively impact our city's quality of life for decades to come.
"So both the Governor and I are going to have big smiles on our faces tonight. This is something that, as I said, three decades in the making, but tonight it is getting done. So thank you. Governor, all to you, and once again, I'm heading off to light the world's tallest menorah, but thank you for signing the bill."
Stu Loeser/Julie Wood (212) 788-2958
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