The preliminary jockeying for 2013 mayoral positioning took an interesting turn this morning. Scott Stringer, a fierce critic of Mayor Bloomberg on issues like the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics, joined the administration’s side in the battle over plans to expand taxi service. The handful of companies that currently dominate the medallion industry have sued to stop the implementation of the mayor’s deal to auction off 2,000 wheelchair-accessible yellow-taxi medallions and to create a new fleet of 18,000 “green” taxis. Today Stringer announced he’ll be filing a court brief in favor of Bloomberg’s approach.
He emphasized the policy merits: Bloomberg’s plan, hammered out with the state legislature and Governor Cuomo, could add $1 billion to city revenues. But Stringer is making an intriguing political play as well. He’s taking a shot at one of his Democratic primary rivals, Bill de Blasio, who has backed the fleet owners fighting the Bloomberg plan by arguing that the City Council should have a say. And Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, has been working hard to raise his profile in the outerboroughs — exactly where the Bloomberg plan would benefit the most cab riders.