After bravely waging a hunger strike that lasted more than two weeks, Taxi drivers and advocates hammered out a deal to supplement the City’s Medallion Relief Program (MRP), with a City-funded deficiency guarantee to achieve greater principal reduction and lower monthly payments. Mayor de Blasio, New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, and Senator Charles Schumer, on November 3, announced the agreement between the City, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), and Marblegate Asset Management (Marblegate), the city’s largest medallion lender.
Under the agreement, Marblegate will restructure outstanding loans to a principal balance of $200,000, which will be constituted as a $170,000 guaranteed loan, plus a City grant of $30,000. The terms of the new loan will include a 5% interest rate and a 20-year, fully amortizing term. This restructuring will cap debt service payments at $1,122 per month for eligible medallion owners.
The City will provide funding for a guarantee on the principal and interest for these loans and will work with all other medallion lenders to achieve the same terms.
This agreement builds on the success of the City’s $65 million Medallion Relief Program, which has helped 173 owner/drivers achieve $21.4 million in debt forgiveness in just over a month.
“After a long and painful journey, we made it home to victory,” said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the NYTWA. “Today marks a new dawn, a new beginning for a workforce that has struggled through so much crisis and loss. Today, we can say owner-drivers have won real debt relief and can begin to get their lives back. Drivers will no longer be at risk of losing their homes, and no longer be held captive to a debt beyond their lifetime. We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio for standing with the drivers and putting the might and the faith of the City to fix this crisis. We are thankful to Marblegate for working with us in good faith to reach a resolution. This resolution was not possible without Senator Schumer whose leadership secured funds and helped steer our ship. And this victory was not possible without our broad coalition of supporters. The city we love had our back and so today we can say, we have won!”
“The TLC’s top priority is all its Licensees and the health of the Industry,” said Jarmoszuk. “We remain committed to strengthening the Taxi segment and look forward to building on the success of the Medallion Relief Program, in collaboration with Industry stakeholders and elected officials.”
“Today’s agreement is a win for taxis, which are a critical piece of New York City infrastructure,” said Andrew Milgram, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Marblegate Asset Management. “It is also a testament to Ms. Desai and the many taxi drivers who have been tenacious advocates and who, along with the de Blasio Administration and Senator Schumer, have delivered meaningful debt forgiveness and a sizable reduction in drivers’ monthly loan payments.”
“I was happy to hear that the New York Taxi Workers Alliance with the support of Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have been able to strike a deal with City Hall to help the struggling Taxi Medallion owners,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “As the Co-Chair of the Taxi Medallion Task Force I have been closely analyzing the crisis of the taxi medallion industry. For many individual taxi medallion owners, the medallion represented a shot at the American Dream. Now more than ever, we must support New York City’s taxi medallion owners, especially the individual medallion owners.”