Supervisors Call on State Legislature to Tax Uber, Lyft

While other cities tax transportation network companies, California regulators reduced fees last month.

(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

The Board of Supervisors is requesting a state law that would allow the city to subject Uber and Lyft to infrastructure impact fees that would make up for the wear and tear on our roads.

Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday that calls for the California State Legislature sponsor a bill to make transportation network companies (TNC) pay up. Supervisor Aaron Peskin brought the measure forward.

By the estimation of the San Francisco Transportation Task Force 2045, TNCs could contribute $100 million annually for the next 27 years to account for the financial impacts they bring to the city. The resolution pointed to fees or taxes that Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, New York and Massachusetts have imposed on TNCs to put money back into local transportation. 

“San Francisco and the state of California are far behind the times,” Peskin told the board Tuesday. “Here in California, we are going the reverse direction.”

Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to lower the percentage of revenue from .33 to .0025 percent required of transportation companies. Since overall revenue has increased, the state regulators felt Uber and Lyft were giving more than enough, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

Peskin also expressed frustration over the lack of transparency from the state regulators, who have not shared data they obtain from the companies nor disclose where the money is going. Uber and Lyft have handed San Francisco data after City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the companies subpoenas.

Though Peskin is also pushing for a ballot to be placed on the November ballot, going through legislative means would avoid Uber and Lyft throwing big money around to ensure the measure fails. Plus, a ballot measure may not resolve the tension between cities like San Francisco and state regulators.

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