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Bill de Blasio Officially Tries to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

New York City's mayor is poised to introduce legislation this month that would eliminate the city's horse-drawn carriage industry.

The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is poised to introduce legislation this month that would eliminate the New York City horse-drawn carriage industry, fulfilling a promise by the mayor to animal-rights activists who played a key role in securing his campaign victory last year. Mr. de Blasio had pledged “on day one” to rid Central Park of its signature four-legged tourist attraction, a Victorian vestige that has been decried as torture by horse advocates who say the animals are mistreated and vulnerable to accidents when traversing Midtown streets.

But the mayor’s efforts quickly turned into a steeplechase, with city officials stymied for months by union protests (the industry includes dozens of blue-collar jobs), celebrity ripostes (Liam Neeson made a well-publicized visit to the local stables), and legal and regulatory snags.

Now, Mr. de Blasio’s team is unveiling a bill that would phase out the industry by the middle of 2016, while offering soon-to-be-unemployed carriage drivers a carrot of sorts: job training classes and a waiver of most fees for a license to drive a “green” taxicab, which can pick up passengers outside the busiest parts of Manhattan.

Daniel Luzer is GOVERNING's news editor.
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