United Spinal Denounces New York City Taxi Pick: Taxpayers, Wheelchair Users, and Aging Population Ignored.
United Spinal Association responded today to the choice of the Bloomberg administration and New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) as it failed to pick the next generation taxi that could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as serve wheelchair users and the fast growing aging population.
"If this decision holds, it will be a black eye on the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg's administration as it is financially inexcusable and perpetuates discrimination against people with disabilities for the next ten years," stated James Weisman, United Spinal Association senior vice president and general counsel.
Mr. Weisman pointed out that the MTA could use wheelchair accessible taxis and greatly reduce the Access-A-Ride program that cost taxpayers $470 million dollars yearly, equivalent to the entire Metro North Budget.
The City overlooked a wheelchair- and scooter-friendly taxi made by a Turkish company, Karsan, that could be made in Brooklyn employing 800 workers and chose, instead, a Nissan cab.
The New York Daily News and The New York Times reported Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio have already called on city Comptroller John Liu to investigate the selection process, alleging a possible conflict of interest.
"The question is why overlook the needs and rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers and countless visitors from all over the world when it would cost the City nothing, save MTA money and keep people with disabilities and seniors mobile" added Mr. Weisman.
Mr. Weisman drafted significant portions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and pointed out that every taxi in London can accommodate wheelchair users.
About United Spinal Association - www.unitedspinal.org - United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.