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Governor Cuomo Announces Outer Borough Taxi Agreement

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal Tuesday night to provide taxi service to the outer boroughs. The plan also includes making new medallion cabs accessible to the disabled.

In addition, it will allow livery cabs to pick up street hails for the first time in the outer boroughs. Cuomo made the official announcement during a press conference in the Red Room of the State Capitol.

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"It's very important to me that the bill is something I'm proud of and that all New Yorkers can be proud of. And I don't believe New Yorkers want a taxi system that is not accessible, period," Cuomo said Tuesday.

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Under the plan, the city will sell 18,000 permits allowing livery cab drivers to pick up passengers north of 96th Street in Manhattan and in the outer four boroughs.

"It's a huge victory for all New Yorkers who have ever sought to hail a cab outside of Manhattan and in northern Manhattan," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

A bill, which would legally permit livery street hails, was passed by the Legislature back in June before it ran into some road blocks, including access for handicapped riders. Livery cab advocates also argued that they should be allowed to buy into a medallion system instead of a permit, while yellow cabbies argued the plan would devalue the medallion.

Mayor Bloomberg, a strong proponent of the measure -- which also calls for 2,000 additional taxi medallions -- believes it would raise much-needed revenue for the city.  In fact, the measure could bring in $1 billion of revenue to help the city ease its budget shortfall.

"The city needs revenue. Why? Because the city needs revenue -- it's a function of the economic circumstances. The state is feeling it, the city is feeling it and the sale of medallions generates revenue for the city," Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday.

Officials said it may still take a few months for livery permits to be issued and full handicapped accessibility to be implemented.  The city will also provide grants of up to $15,000 to fit cabs with equipment necessary to accommodate disabled passengers or buy accessible vehicles.

"The TLC will sit down, work with the disabled community and other groups to come up with a long -term, gradual phase-in of accessibility for the fleet," Cuomo said.

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