New York City’s wishful thinking on taxi medallions

New York City’s wishful thinking on taxi medallions

The de Blasio administration continues to count $1.2 billion from auctions that may never happen, states Crain’s today. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is known for being understated, but his staff took things a step further in its recent assessment of the de Blasio administration’s financial plan. The comptroller reports that the city is still budgeting to receive $1.2 billion by auctioning 1,650 taxi medallions from fiscal year 2019 to 2023. That’s an average price of $728,000. “There is a risk that the expected price will not be realized,” DiNapoli’s report states.

Ya think? At the last medallion auction with competitive bidding, on Sept. 18, a package of 46 medallions sold for $186,000 apiece. More auctions this month will show that was no fluke. Another six medallions will be auctioned Jan. 11 by First Jersey Credit Union, and Aspire Federal Credit Union will put 14 more on the block Jan. 16. A third January auction, of 16 medallions, is also being scheduled by First Jersey. Medallions will be auctioned individually, so the average price may well exceed that of the September package deal, but will be nowhere near what the city has budgeted for new medallions.

The city’s auction has been pushed back multiple times as competition from Uber, Lyft, Via and others undermined medallion values. The sale of 1,650 medallions would push values down further, so there is no guarantee that the city will ever hold another medallion auction. Worst-case, the entire $1.2 billion will never materialize.

  • New York City’s wishful thinking on taxi medallions.

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