Regulatory Rise From The Dead In Seattle?

Posted on June 17, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

SEATTLE — The Puget Sound Limousine Association recently helped derail a bill that would have enabled the city of Seattle to apply stricter regulations to operators of chauffeured transportation vehicles.

While the purpose of the bill was to help the city go after gypsy operators, the additional licensing and fee requirements for legitimate operators would have been problematic, said Eli Darland, owner of Rare Form Limousine in Seattle and a member of the association.

Darland testified in front of the state House Transportation Committee in March before the bill died in committee for lack of agreement on final wording. He said the city of Seattle would add a new layer of regulation, including new licenses for for-hire vehicles, new taxes, and “all the headaches and trouble” associated with added rules and unforeseen future tax hikes.

But Darland warns the city of Seattle could easily resurrect legislation again, since it is hungry for revenue.

“They are not letting up;” he said. “They want this money. They want the ability to increase their control circle and budget for this department. It seems to be a power grab to me.”

According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Puget Sound Limousine Association and limo companies encourage tougher enforcement on "rogue" competitors but question whether the legislation would create confusion and additional costs. Some prefer that city officials be given authority to enforce state laws without the need to set their own regulations.

Current state law allows port authorities in counties with one million or more people to “self-regulate” limousines. The Port of Seattle has the ability to regulate limousines for the cruise terminals and SeaTac airport, but now does so only at SeaTac. The Washington Department of Licensing regulates livery vehicles statewide. That’s why a third layer of regulation from the city of Seattle would be burdensome and redundant for area operators.

Darland said one alternative is for the PSLA to have a lawyer from the licensing department contact the city Seattle and explain how to enforce state limo laws already on the books.

For background information on the issue, CLICK HERE for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article.

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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