LANJ President Jeff Shanker (R) and Pete Corelli, PAC chair, urged association members on March 31, 2015 to financially support ongoing lobbying efforts to ensure that TNCs operate by the same rules and regulations as limousine companies. Photo by LCT
PRINCETON, N.J. — The ongoing legislative fight to ensure that TNCs abide by the same rules and regulations governing private transportation companies was the main topic at the March 31 meeting of the Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ).
The association is one of the most active in the country fighting transportation network companies, crafting legislation, and lobbying legislators to ensure that TNCs abide by the same rules that govern limousine companies.
Although legislation (A-3765) regulating TNCs was passed by a state Assembly transportation committee March 19, LANJ did not support the bill because it did not include a number of key regulations and mandates that are on the books for limousine companies. Although the bill contains language that requires TNC drivers to have commercial insurance, background checks and vehicle inspections, it is only considered a “first step,” LANJ President Jeff Shanker (A1 Limousine, Princeton) told more than 50 members attending the meeting.
Shanker said the association will continue to pressure legislators to amend the current bill to ensure TNCs “fully comply” with existing limousine company requirements, as well as ratchet up lobbying efforts of state senators to “level the playing field” once the bills moves forward.
Uber has made a lot of noise over the bill, especially the commercial insurance requirement, and has threatened to leave the state if the requirement stays. Observers believe the mobile app company is blowing smoke to rally legislative and citizen support but has no intention to exit the Garden State.
LANJ is steadfast on adding more key provisions in the Assembly bill. If that fails, it plans to work the Senate as the bill moves forward. The association wants specific mandates included in the bill requiring: medical examinations for a driver’s license, commercial insurance (not hybrid/gap policies), TNCs drivers treated as employees not independent contractors, and TNCs to collect a 7% sales tax on every trip instead of the proposed 10 cents per trip.
“The Senate has our original bill on the table which turns a TNC into a limousine company,” Shanker said. “Hopefully, they will review that bill and see the disparities in the Assembly bill and fix it. Again, this is about public safety and a level playing field for private transportation companies that operate in the state.”
To continue its lobbying efforts, LANJ is seeking financial support for both its PAC fund — headed by LANJ board member and PAC chair Pete Corelli (owner, Lakeview Custom Coach, Oaklyn) and potentially hiring a public relations firm to alert consumers about safety issues concerning illegal TNCs.