NYC's Taxi of Tomorrow hits a roadblock, judge rules city overreaches its authority

Mayor Bloomberg, New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and Nissan have been working to bring the NV200 "Taxi of Tomorrow" to the Big Apple since 2011, but it looks like its planned October 28th launch won't go without a hitch. In a lawsuit brought by Evgeny Freidman and the Greater New York Taxi Association against the TLC, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Schlomo Hagler ruled that the agency can't force taxi owners to buy the Japanese manufacturers' autos. "Simply stated, the power to contract and compel medallion owners to purchase the Nissan NV200 from Nissan for ten years does not exist in the City Charter," Hagler's decision reads, according to the Wall Street Journal. While this certainly complicates things for Bloomberg and Co., it doesn't mean that the Taxi of Tomorrow's fate is sealed. Naturally, NYC is bent on appealing the decision. "We believe the Court's decision is fundamentally wrong, and we intend to appeal immediately," wrote the city's corporation counsel Michael Cardozo in a statement.

If an appeal doesn't change the ruling however, Gotham could be on the hook for a sum in the neighborhood of $50 million or more, which would cover the car maker's design and production costs. According to the WSJ, a city official says they may not have to pony up the cash, as the contract would be rendered void by the court, not New York City's whim. Despite the setback, Nissan says its plan to fill the taxi fleet with new autos hasn't been derailed. "We are disappointed in the court's decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month," a Nissan spokesperson told Autoblog in an email. Something tells us this will be a long legal road, so don't get used to the idea of shiny new rides just yet.