The de Blasio administration began its outreach this week to horse-carriage drivers and others who would be affected by legislation to abolish the industry.
“We want to be thorough and make sure we understand the factors at play,” Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the administration, says in an email. “We are doing our due diligence and reaching out to stakeholders in the industry, including drivers, carriage owners, stable owners and their representatives.”
De Blasio promised during his campaign to ban the industry immediately upon taking office, but has been slow to realize that goal. The administration helped craft legislation that was introduced in the City Council in December that would phase out the industry by 2016, but the bill must still undergo an environmental review before it can come for a vote.
The bill would also create a training program for carriage owners, drivers, stable workers and license holders, and would require the city to cover the cost of licensing fees for carriage drivers eligible for outer-borough taxi medallions.
“We believe the legislation represents a humane and equitable solution,” Norvell says in the email. “The Office of the Mayor is overseeing preparation of an environmental review regarding the proposed legislation, as required by law.”
After repeated inquiries seeking an update on the review, an official in the mayor's office said on background that the environmental study began when the bill was introduced in December and will take approximately 6 months.
A separate source said the City Council is expected to vote on the legislation by June.
Norvell did not specify a timeframe for completion.
The City Council appears split on the ban, and multiple members of the Council have said the issue has not come up in recent months. Council spokesman Eric Koch says last week he did not know which city agency was conducting the study and was unable to find out.
A spokesperson for the animal-rights group NYCLASS, which is pushing for the ban, declined to comment.
One prominent horse-carriage driver, Christina Hansen, who opposes the ban, says she had not heard from the administration.