MARLTON, N.J. — The National Limousine Association asked New Jersey operators today to sign and send a form letter urging Congress to pass the Prevention of Unreasonable Fees Act.
Addressed to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., the letter explains how excessive fees from airports and ports violate the 2002 Real Interstate Driver’s Equity (RIDE) Act are compounding the effects of the recession on operators and could potentially drive many of the smaller ones out of business.
“We have attached a template letter where you can cut and paste your logo and address,” wrote Tim Rose, president of the Limousine Associations of New Jersey, in an e-mail blast to operators today.
“Please sign and email the letter back to Sara (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will forward it on to the NLA lobbyist who will deliver them to Washington. Please take the time to do it today so we can send a message to Sen. Lautenberg from his fellow New Jersey residents and voters.”
The text of the letter is below:
August XX, 2009
The Honorable Frank Lautenberg
United States Senate
324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
On behalf of the thousands of employees and hundreds of small businesses providing prearranged ground transportation services in New Jersey, I write to urge your reintroduction of the Prevention of Unreasonable Fees Act in the 111th Congress. New Jersey’s small businesses continue to suffer from abusive fees in violation of the Real Interstate Driver’s Equity (“RIDE”) Act of 2002. Enactment of your legislation will be of great assistance to hundreds of struggling small businesses in the State.
As you are well aware, the RIDE Act prohibits states and any political subdivisions from requiring a fee or other payment requirement if a vehicle is providing pre-arranged interstate ground transportation service. However, since the RIDE Act was passed in 2002, some airports and ports have avoided the intent of Congress by charging fees to all for-hire livery vehicles, regardless of whether the vehicle is providing interstate or intrastate transportation. This is clearly contrary to the RIDE Act, which was to prohibit fees on vehicles carrying passengers on interstate trips.
In addition, some airports charge very unreasonable fees, such as a flat annual fee of $500 for each for-hire livery vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle makes one trip a year, or hundreds. These fees effectively prevent many small business operators (both intrastate and interstate carriers) from providing limousine service at airports.
The impact of these abusive fees on ground transportation companies is crippling. Like my business, most pre-arranged ground transportation companies in New Jersey are one-car to three-car operators. As the prevalence and amount of these abusive fees increases, the ability for my company to provide airport prearranged ground transportation decreases. Many operators now face fees at levels too high to be passed on to their customers. If these abusive fees are allowed to continue, I am fearful my company and employees will be forced out of business entirely.
New Jersey’s small businesses urge you to reintroduce the Prevention of Unreasonable Fees Act in the 111th Congress. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.