Taxi owners group sues City of Milwaukee over new licenses

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Officials with the City of Milwaukee say they will move forward with plans to issue 100 new taxicab licenses, even as a group of current taxi owners and operators attempt to preserve the status quo and thwart the legislative process with a last-ditch federal lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the pending legal case seek an injunction from the court that would prevent the city from issuing new taxicab licenses, as well as a declaration that the new ordinance is invalid.

Alderman Bob Bauman said that, after nearly a year of work on ordinance revisions designed to improve cab service in the city, several public hearings in which dozens of witnesses testified and a circuit court ruling that the city’s previous limit on the number of cab licenses was unconstitutional, the cab companies’  federal complaint amounts to a desperate stall tactic.

More than 550 people have declared their intent to apply for one of the 100 new taxicab licenses, and that the License Division of the City Clerk’s office will continue to prepare to issue them. Once the filing deadline of February 28 passes, the City Clerk’s office will hold a lottery to determine which applicants are allowed to continue in the licensing process.

The City Attorney’s office is also making preparations to defend the ordinance in an anticipated injunction hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.

Right now, 320 cabs are licensed to operate in the City of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Common Council in November passed legislation that increased the limit to 420, and also enables the council to review the need for additional cab licenses on an annual basis.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

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