It looks like Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to remake the taxi industry will move forward.
Most of today's news has, understandably, revolved around a certain Supreme Court decision. But judges in other places have been busy too. Today, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that New York City's lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court ruled that the industry remains private, even though the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission "exercises pervasive control."
It's a real loss for disability advocates. In New York, 98 percent of taxis are not wheelchair accessible, and the ruling means the city's new fleet of taxis (aptly named the taxis of tomorrow) are more likely to stay that way.
It's a big victory for the Bloomberg administration, but at least one big impediment to its borough taxi plan still remains: a separate suit brought by the taxi industry, and backed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, arguing that the city should have first gotten City Council approval for its borough taxi plan, before repairing to Albany. It is only after that legal question is settled that the city will be able to auction off those 2,000 yellow taxi medallions and thereby close gaping holes in this year's, and next year's, budgets.