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City Councilman calls for 300 more taxis, but with more accessibility

David Oh said he understands: the city's high wage tax makes it hard for new businesses to setup shop.

A taxicab driver was robbed and carjacked in South Philadelphia early Wednesday. Credit: Charles Mostoller, Metro Credit: Charles Mostoller, Metro

David Oh said he understands: the city's high wage tax makes it hard for new businesses to setup shop.

So he has an idea: add more cabs. But not just any taxis, but eco-friendly cars that are handicap accessible and outfitted with bike racks.

"I've been working on this for a while," Oh said. "And I think it's doable."

In council chambers Thursday Oh introduced a resolution, or formal expression of opinion aimed at the state legislature, asking it to issue 300 more medallions, or permits, for these modified cabs.

Here's the catch: Oh wants to cut the city wage tax, and use the revenue from the new 300 to help makeup for the tax cut. Currently, the city's fleet of 1,600 cabs generates about $150 million, which is all sent to the state.

Oh said he floated the idea to folks in Harrisburg and didn't find objections. "It's us producing new streams of revenue," he said.

"The state has no way of reducing the city's high tax burden with state legislation," he said. "With this they would not be taking money out of the state budget. This is new money."

An entity has committed to buying the 300 medallions, Oh added.

The problem would most likely come locally. Cab owners and the cabbies, who have historically been at-odds, would have to agree to the changes, which could be costly.

"We'd have to be on the same page," he said.

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

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