Arizona House panel OKs ban on new airport ride-hailing fees

FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo passengers find their rides at the Ride Share point as they exit Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona House panel voted along party lines Monday evening to advance a proposal barring new fees on ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

The 4-3 vote came after a lengthy hearing of the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. Majority Republicans backing the proposal say it will prevent Phoenix and other airports from raising fees for ride-hailing services they contend violate a voter-approved ban on new taxes or fees on services.

Phoenix says the airport charges fees or rent to everyone who does business on the city-owned property. Other companies that pay to use Sky Harbor say barring the new fees on Uber and Lyft rides will shift the costs to them. They include companies that run parking lots and Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, the two biggest operators at the airport.

Democrats sided with other firms operating at the airport.

Phoenix proposed raising fees from $2.66 per drop-off fee to a flat $4 for both drop-offs and pickups on Feb. 1. But Attorney General Mark Brnovich last month said the new fees were “very likely” unconstitutional and Phoenix put them on hold while they’re considered by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Republican Rep. Travis Grantham introduced the legislation to ensure fees don’t go up if the high court finds they do not violate the 2018 voter-approved measure known as Proposition 126.

Airports around the nation inundated by new ride-hailing companies displacing traditional taxis are struggling to replace revenue they previously received from taxis.

Republished with the Permission of the Associated Press.