FILE - Phoenix Airport

Construction of the Sky Train near Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Phoenix City Council’s proposed rideshare fee increase at the city’s airport would be unconstitutional, an Arizona think tank says. 

The libertarian-leaning Goldwater Institute on Tuesday sent a letter to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego requesting that the proposal to hike fees 200 percent for rideshares like Uber and Lyft at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport be withdrawn.

The proposal would increase pick-up trip fees to $4.00 per trip and establish a drop-off trip fee of the same cost. Both fees would be raised 25 cents each year until 2024, when it reaches $5.00 each trip. The city currently charges a $2.66 pick-up trip fee for riders departing the airport. 

Jon Riches, the institute’s director of national litigation, said in the letter that a recently passed constitutional amendment means the city’s proposed fee increase would be unlawful. 

“Not only is the City's proposed rate increase on ride-sharing services to Sky Harbor bad policy that will harm Arizonans throughout the state and the many visitors to this state, it is also unconstitutional,” he said

Arizona voters passed Proposition 126 last year, which amended the state constitution to bar local governments from imposing or increasing fees for “any service performed in this state.” 

“The City's substantial rate increase will impact Arizona's national standing as a tourist and business destination, harm passengers, including low to middle income passengers, and impact ride-sharing drivers who earn modest pay by providing a reliable and valued service,” Riches added. 

Ridesharing app Lyft has said if the proposal passes, it would no longer offer rides to and from the airport. 

“This tax punishes riders who rely on Lyft for affordable and convenient [rides] to and from the airport,” a letter from Lyft to the city said. 

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said in a tweet on Wednesday that the proposal is a “money-grab.”

“No matter how you look at it, this tax hike is a bad idea all around,” he said.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Dec. 18.


Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News. He’s also an editor at The Daily Caller.