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Uber, Lyft agree to San Francisco ride tax

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San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin withdrew a proposal Tuesday to put a ballot measure on the November 2018 election of a gross receipts tax on ride-hail companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Peskin said in a statement that after weeks of negotiations with both Uber and Lyft, both companies have agreed to allow The City to tax a percentage of their net ride revenues to towards funding transportation needs outlined in the San Francisco Transportation Task Force 2045.

The late Mayor Ed Lee convened the task force to identify transportation needs and gaps in funding and to identify potential funding to fill those gaps.

Revenue from Peskin’s original proposal would have ended up in The City’s General Fund.

Peskin, who also chairs the San Francisco Transportation County Authority, said the agreement was a win-win for everyone:

“We have a $100 million local funding obligation to meet the transportation demands of a growing city. Voters have made it clear that they want corporations to pay their fair share to meet that need, particularly when there is a nexus to issues like congestion and traffic.

He added:

“I’m optimistic that this concession on the part of the TNC’s signals a shift in their corporate culture and a willingness to work with – not fight with – local governments.”

State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) will introduce legislation to authorize The City to impose the per ride tax. The new dedicated tax proposal would still go before voters at the November 2019 election.

Under Pesksin’s new proposal, it would apply a 3.25 percent tax rate to single-use rides and 1.5 percent rides on carpool rides like on Uber Pool. The proposal could bring $30 million annually for public transit needs.

Alex Randolph, policy lead for Uber, said in a statement:

“We appreciate the constructive and good faith negotiations with San Francisco lawmakers and we look forward to working with city and state officials to ensure a successful campaign in 2019.”

Brian McGuigan, a spokesperson for Lyft, said:

“Lyft is focused on improving transportation in cities and we recognize the importance of reliable transportation in San Francisco.”

McGuigan added:

“We are glad to have arrived at a solution that will help keep rideshare convenient and affordable and look forward to continuing these conversations with City and State officials.”

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