Phoenix City Council Airport Rideshare Tax Increase

Phoenix City Council voted in favor of increasing fees for rideshares at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport during a meeting on Dec. 18, 2019.

Phoenix City Council on Wednesday voted to pass a tax hike on rideshare use at the city’s airport.  

“This was a strong vote that the city of Phoenix is going to invest in Sky Harbor,” Mayor Kate Gallego said following a 7-2 vote in favor of the increases. 

The plan will raise rideshare pickup fees at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to $4 per pick-up trip and establish a drop-off trip fee of $4 per trip. Fees will increase to $5.00 each trip by 2024.

Riders are currently paying a fee of $2.66 for pick-up trips. 

Numerous people ranging from rideshare drivers, citizens, a representative for Uber, and a right-leaning think tank, among others, testified about the proposal.

Goldwater Institute General Counsel Jon Riches said during public comments that if passed, the increases would be unconstitutional because of Proposition 126, which banned local governments from imposing or increasing fees for “any service performed in this state.”   

Senate Bill 1487 also allows lawmakers to file complaints if it’s believed that a local government is violating state law, which would lead to an investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

One Republican lawmaker from Phoenix has already said if the rideshare increases passed she would file a formal complaint.

City councilmembers later questioned a city attorney who said that counsel found that the fees do not violate the state constitution since they are a charge for use of public property.

Rideshare company Uber said in a letter to the city last week that it “will be forced to cease operations” at the airport if the proposal passed.

A representative for Uber made similar comments before City Council during public comments on Wednesday.

Uber is the second rideshare company behind Lyft to say it would pull services from the airport if the increases passed.

City council members in favor of the increases say revenue will be used to fund the airport’s transportation infrastructure costs and maintenance for the Sky Train.


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.