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AG asks Arizona Supreme Court to block new rideshare 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. A new $4 fee on Uber and Lyft rides to and from the Phoenix airport is "very likely" unconstitutional, the state attorney general said Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, upping the ante in the showdown that has led the ride-hailing giants to threaten to abandon the airport service. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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. A new $4 fee on Uber and Lyft rides to and from the Phoenix airport is “very likely” unconstitutional, the state attorney general said Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, upping the ante in the showdown that has led the ride-hailing giants to threaten to abandon the airport service. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has filed a special action with the state Supreme Court seeking to overturn the rideshare ordinance at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

State lawyers also filed a request January 21 with Arizona’s high court to stop the fees from going into effect on February 1.

Meanwhile, Uber said January 22 it will stop serving Sky Harbor at the end of the day on January 31 if the fee isn’t repealed or blocked by the court. Lyft has also threatened to leave the airport but hasn’t announced a date.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich says a new $4 fee on Uber and Lyft rides to and from the Phoenix airport is “very likely” unconstitutional.

Brnovich says the fees approved by the Phoenix City Council probably violated a 2018 ballot measure prohibiting higher taxes on services.

By law, Phoenix could lose its share of state revenue — one-third of its general fund budget — if the fee hike is found to be illegal and isn’t repealed by the city.

Lawyers for the city say the higher fees are not taxes on services, but rather permissible charges for businesses to use city-owned Sky Harbor, which is one of the largest U.S. airports serving some 44 million passengers a year.

The city argues the fees are akin to rent and landing fees charged to restaurants and airlines.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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