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2013-10-10 09:05

NOT THE REAL THING? New York was assured Nissan vans like this would become the de facto 'New York taxi' but now a court has ruled that might not be so. Image: AFP

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2012 Nissan NV200 London taxi

A judge has blocked New York's $1-billion plan to install Japanese cars as the new 'yellow cabs' so familiar on the city's roads. Which is a bit of a blow for mayor Michael Bloomberg...

NEW YORK CITY - A New York state judge has blocked New York City's $1-billion plan to replace its iconic yellow cabs with a taxi fleet made by Japanese automaker Nissan.

The plan by mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to create the "Taxi of Tomorrow" with a fleet of Nissan minivans breached the authority of the New York City Council, State Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler said in a ruling.

He concluded that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, a city administrative agency that picked Nissan in 2011 as the exclusive provider of New York cabs, "went beyond its prescribed regulatory authority in the City Charter".

PRIORITY DOOMED?

"The notion that New York City should have one exclusive 'iconic' New York City taxicab is a policy decision that is reserved for the city council," Hagler said. "As applied to this case, the separation-of-powers doctrine prohibits the city council from delegating its policy-making authority to the TLC. Moreover, the TLC may not exercise its rule-making authority if it impinges on the city council's policy-making authority."

The ruling could doom a major Bloomberg administration transportation priority only months before the three-term mayor is due to leave office. The selection of the Nissan NV200 minivan was estimated to be worth $1-billion to the Japanese automaker.

The suit was filed by the Greater New York Taxi Association, which represents hybrid and wheelchair-accessible cab owners, and Evegny Friedman, who owns a leading New York City cab fleet.


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