Seattle’s Tim-Eyman-wannabe Elizabeth Campbell, has filed an initiative that would repeal recently imposed caps on popular Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Lyft, Sidecar, and uberX. Initiative 111 (pdf) would also eliminate the $50,000 annual license fee per TNC that was intended to fund enforcement of the remaining regulations, while removing any reference to “the stability of the market for taxi and for hire transportations services” from consideration for subsequent regulatory review. If passed, the initiative would pretty much gut the work of the city council, freeing up the TNCs to operate at will and virtually unrestricted, while leaving the taxi industry capped and heavily regulated. So much for the “level playing field” the TNCs have been clamoring for.
Of course, Campbell is a bit of a self-serving pro-business crackpot with a habit of filing initiatives on spec and then hoping the corporate contributions roll in. She’s already filed a faux $15 minimum wage initiative that would not in fact raise the minimum wage to $15 for most workers, while lavishing tax cuts on business. No contributions thus far. So it’s not clear whether Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber were even aware of this initiative before it was filed, let alone whether they would lend it financial support.
That said, my sense is that a well-crafted initiative lifting the caps on the popular TNCs could very well pass. Everybody loves to hate on the taxis. So it wouldn’t surprise me to see the TNCs fund such an initiative, if not this particular one.
I’ve emailed Campbell and other parties for comment. I’ll update when I know more.