Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, March 28, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

Giving Commuter Vans the Right to Compete Fairly and Safely
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

Communities throughout New York City - and, in particular, a group of New Yorkers whose right to free enterprise was being unfairly constrained by the City Council - won a major victory in State Supreme Court on Tuesday when the City Council's review of commuter van lines was ruled to be in violation of the New York City Charter.

Van services are what I would call typical American businesses, typical American success stories. They're run by people - in many cases immigrants - who see the need for a product or service in a particular neighborhood, work hard to develop a business, nurture it and watch it grow, and manage to create entrepreneurial success for themselves.

In the process, van operators have provided essential transportation alternatives to thousands of New Yorkers who are underserved by other forms of transportation. But in this case, their American success story was interrupted by special interest and political pressure, who tried to squelch van lines as much as possible. The City Council set up a procedure in which they retained veto rights over new van lines. Van services that had been approved by the Department of Transportation and by the Taxi & Limousine Commission were often denied the right to operate.

We asserted from the very beginning that it is the job of the executive branch - meaning the Taxi & Limousine Commission and the Mayor's Office - and not of the legislative branch, to oversee this process, and by improperly asserting this authority the City Council was violating the seperation of powers outlined in the City Charter. We said that the City Council's actions not only deprived many, many good van lines of the right to earn a living, but frustrated New Yorkers in many communities who need van services.

We're very pleased that the court ruled in support of the van operators. The ruling will encourage healthy competition among van lines. It'll provide better services to commuters across the city. And it will allow van operators to operate legitimately and safely under a regulatory umbrella, with insurance protection and properly licensed drivers. In the process, it will expand transportation alternatives in many parts of our city, create more jobs for New Yorkers, and preserve the ladder of success that has always been one of the defining parts of life in America, especially in New York City.

It's a major step forward for the spirit of entrepreneurship in the City of New York, and for the many consumers who benefit from that spirit.

Also, before I close, I want to offer the prayers and support of all New Yorkers to our American servicemen and women who are at risk tonight in Kosovo. I know that all New Yorkers join with me in offering our support to their families and to them and pray for their speedy return. This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


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