Larry Frankel, chairman of the Dominion of Cab Drivers, said drivers are considering a strike or other protests that could “tie up traffic.”
Taxi drivers questioned how they would pay for the new smart meters, but Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) announced Tuesday afternoon that the city would pick up the cost.
Compare D.C.'s new taxicab fares to the previous system.
In other action Tuesday, the council gave final approval to a bill that could set up a showdown with federal officials over immigration policy.
The proposal states that the D.C. Department of Corrections will detain only suspected illegal immigrants known to be dangerous criminals and limit any detentions to 24 hours. The federal Secure Communities program calls for local jurisdictions to hold a suspected illegal immigrant who has been arrested for 48 hours so ICE can interview the detainee and decide whether to seek deportation.
The council also gave final approval to a measure clarifying that the owner of a vehicle is liable for speed- and traffic-camera tickets. If a ticket is issued, it will be up to the owners — including rental car companies — to recoup the fine from the driver.
In another debate involving drivers and vehicles, the council defeated legislation that could have denied residential parking permits to some residents who move into newly constructed condominiums and apartments.
The bill was designed to make it easier for developers to build housing units in dense neighborhoods without inciting community opposition over the scarcity of on-street parking. But council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) organized a majority against it after deeming the proposal “bad public policy.”
“This is something that ought to be left to the marketplace,” Mendelson said.
The council also voted to reappoint Natwar M. Gandhi to a third full term as the city’s chief financial officer and approved the nominations of three members of the new city ethics panel, including former attorney general Robert J. Spagnoletti as its chairman.
But the council delayed a decision on Gray’s nominee to sit on the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority board, Roderic L. Woodson. The postponement, which effectively killed the nomination, came after labor leaders argued that Woodson was too closely aligned with business interests.
The council will recess next week until Sept. 15.