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AFP backs Matt Gaetz legislation on ride-sharing

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Will the Florida Legislature address the issue of Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft in the 2016 Session?

That remains an open question this week as the Legislature returns to Tallahassee for the Regular Session.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House Economic Affairs Committee will discuss legislation sponsored by Fort Walton Beach Republican Matt Gaetz regarding TNC’s. Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter has endorsed his bill.

“Representative Gaetz should be commended for driving the discussion on the importance of the innovative industries coming to Florida,” said AFP state Director Chris Hudson.

“His ride-sharing legislation, H.B. 509, will create a framework to responsibly regulate the transportation network companies. Ride-sharing companies have been fighting for survival against burdensome regulations from local municipalities that have been siding with special interests.”

Undoubtedly, one of those local municipalities he’s referring to is the Public Transportation Commission (PTC) in Hillsborough County, where Commissioner Victor Crist vowed Wednesday to take “radical” action if the Legislature doesn’t act on regulating Uber and Lyft this Session.

“You may or may not like our fix,” Crist said. A member of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioner and a former state legislator, Crist said, “This is not going to be a PTC problem 12 months from now. We are not going to put this agency’s existence in jeopardy anymore.”

AFP wrote a letter to every member of the Legislature on Wednesday, urging them to back Gaetz’ bill.

“Transportation network companies are part of a new economic sector being created that brings together new technologies with the assets and abilities that individuals already possess, often referred to as the sharing economy,” Hudson wrote. “These new, innovative businesses will allow Floridians to pursue new economic opportunities, and should be embraced by the Florida Legislature.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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