DENVER – The Limousine Association Of Colorado (LAOC) has just concluded a long battle with the state PUC over new proposed rules and regulations that, when approved, will govern the industry. The state legislature gave the PUC this authority in a bill passed in the last session in 2007.
About 20 members of the LAOC testified in a PUC hearing before PUC Administrative Law Judge Isley on October 15, 2007. The PUC outlined its recommendations for the new rules and regulations to govern the industry, and operators were given the opportunity to present their points of view on these proposed rules. The PUC made recommendations to the judge, and one of the items proposed was to eliminate the 14 passenger window vans with bench seating. The PUC recommended that operators be allowed to use only Executive vans or enhanced vans in fleets. LAOC operators use 14 passenger vans for most of the groups that come to Colorado. The judge agreed with the PUC on its recommendations.
Gene Cookenboo, president, and Barbara Curtis, vice president, of the LAOC requested a meeting with the Transportation Committee in the House on March 20, 2008. About 15 members of the LAOC were able to testify before the full committee. The committee said that it was not its intention to eliminate any of the vehicles in operators’ fleets. PUC Director Doug Dean testified on where the ruling was coming from and why. This meeting seemed to do nothing to change the PUC’s mind on the van issue even though the Transportation Committee recommended that everyone try to come to some agreement on the issue. The battle continued and LAOC members wrote letters to senators and congressmen in Washington, D.C., asking for help. During this time, LAOC was able to get two articles published in the Rocky Mountain News explaining its position.
Barbara Curtis worked with her representative Joe Rice, a member of the Transportation Committee in the House, and was able to get his help for us to write our own amendment to the PUC’s Sunshine Bill coming before the State Senate. Gene Cookenboo introduced the amendment to the State Senate Committee on Business, Labor & Industry, where the association again asked the committee to let it keep the 14 passenger vans in luxury limousine fleets.
On April 12, 2008 the PUC issued new rules and regulations giving operators the right to keep the 14 passenger window vans in their fleets. Adam Paul, CEO, and Gene Cookenboo, president, of the LAOC had a meeting with PUC Director Doug Dean and Terry Willard, the head of the PUC enforcement division, on April 16, to discuss the new proposed rules as amended by the PUC. The LAOC agreed to proceed under the new rules if they become the permanent rules to work under. The new proposed rules were changed so the luxury limousine companies could keep the 14 passenger window vans with bench seats, and they also provided a “green” vehicle in the SUV category.
During this time, two taxi companies had their lawyers file a Triple R motion before the PUC, which stands for Rehearing, Reargument, or Reconsideration. The PUC Commissioners set down a ruling on May 22, 2008 with this statement:
“The application for Rehearing, Reargument, or Reconsideration filed by Alpine Taxi, Inc to Commission Decision No. C08-0375 is denied in its entirety consistent with the discussion above.” The ruling was finally mailed out on May 30.
“Let me tell you, as the president of the Limousine Association of Colorado, I feel great – like Vince Lombardi said, there is nothing “like winning,” Cookenboo said. “We do have strength in numbers, so if you like what we have been able to accomplish, please join with us in the Limousine Association Of Colorado for the betterment of the industry.”
Source: Limousine Association of Colorado