When local transportation in US cities becomes congested, noisy, or has safety concerns, they are able to manage their roads and the vehicles using them, whether they be vehicles being used for non-commercial or commercial use. When there is a law that preempts this authority, there is no recourse for action to solve transportation problems.
But who would be against keeping roads mobile?
Transportation network companies (TNCs), that’s who. Two prime examples of a TNC are Uber and Lyft ridesharing companies. They do not want local authority over their operations and have been aggressively lobbying to make sure this does not happen.
These 2 rideshare companies have been working hard for the last few years for the passing of state-level regulation that would preempt this local control. What they want is a single relaxed regulatory environment versus what they call a patchwork of local regulations.
The end result? Local authority would lose its control to fully manage ground transportation.
But that may not be the most important reason behind all this lobbying. Historically, cities have the ability to raise revenue by increasing such things as fees for parking and taxi trips. Eliminating local authority over TNCs would eliminate the possibility for the city to earn needed revenue from taxi companies for infrastructure improvements such as roads and buses.
Another issue is with the growing number of Uber and Lyft drivers, road congestion is becoming a natural outcome. Without local authority to manage congestion, cities cannot define where TNCs may pick up and drop off customers and prohibits the ability for cities to instill pricing regulations such as effecting congestion pricing in especially busy locations.
And perhaps what should be most important to not only TNCs and city authority, but to users of these transportation options as well, is safety. When TNCs are controlled by the city, for-hire drivers can be tracked to ensure safety. Such things as fingerprinting and background checks come into play when local authority are involved.
Long-established taxi companies argue that new TNCs such as Uber and Lyft should not be given special exemption and allowed to skirt around city transportation requirements that they must and willingly adhere to.