Operators Ask Lawmakers To Stop PHILLY FINES RUN AMOK

LCT Staff
Posted on June 30, 2010

Members of the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association support a bill that would allow a state agency to regulate limousine service instead of the fee-happy Philadelphia Parking Authority.

HARRISBURG, Penn. — PRLA operators testified at the State Capitol in Harrisburg June 24 on behalf of a bill that would allow the state to make and enforce rules for chauffeured transportation instead of a city agency.

Operators spoke before members of the Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee in support of bill HB 2434. The bill would officially remove rulemaking ability from the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and return it back to the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Since the PPA took over regulation, the industry fees and fines have increased 1000%.

Operators from as far as Pittsburgh testified that this bill will level the playing field for operators who must compete with operators from New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland who are not under PPA authority.

Jim Salinger of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg said that he is required to bring his vehicles to Philadelphia, a 97-mile trek, in order to get his vehicles inspected at a cost of $300 per vehicle for the sticker and $85 for the inspection. Under the PUC, only the state inspection which is an identical one is required and operators could enter the industry for a $350 filing fee. The PPA levies a $10,000 fee.

State Rep. Scott Parry, D-Harrisburg, asked what the additional fee money was used for after PPA Director Vince Fennerty testified that the agency hired only two more inspectors beyond the staff level at the PUC.

Chairman Joseph Preston Jr., D-Allegheny County, said additional hearings would be needed, which would include testimony from PUC members who were present in the audience but did not testify.

“The Parking Authority would have you believe that we want to go back to a time where there is no regulation — a wild, Wild West,” said PRLA president Philip Jagiela. “That is not the case. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has recently ruled in two separate cases that the rules set up by the Philadelphia Parking Authority were not properly formed with hearings, postings and reviews and are therefore null and void. The remainder of the state operates under the rules set up by the PUC. We would only want those to be the governing rules. The PPA can enforce those rules; just not make up their own.”

The PRLA also will lobby State Senators for the companion bill, SB759. “We cannot continue to operate in a market that makes it better to use a company from out of state to do work in the city of Philadelphia,” said Jagiela, also owner of Aries Transportation Group.

Operators who testified:

1) Anthony Onarata/Adamo Limousine

2) Jim Salinger/Unique Limousine

3) Michael Baretto/Flyte Tyme Limousine

4) Thomas Miller/Regency Limousine

Operators who lobbied at the State Capitol:

1) Chris Zubey/Private Coach Limousine

2) Kirk Worst/Galaxy Limousine

3) Bob Hartman/Travelers Limousine

4) Glenn Centolanza/Limo Today

5) Linda Jagiela/Aries Transportation Group

Operators providing legal and legislative support:

1) Jim Schantz/Legislative Assistant to Senator Lisa Boscola

2) Craig Doll/Esquire

3) Steve Rhoads/Rhoads Limousine

4) Linda Jagiela/Aries Transportation Group

Sources: Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer; PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATION

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