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Keep Jobs in Colorado, A Hotbed for Innovation

  • date icon May 8, 2014
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By Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association
Colorado, a national leader for entrepreneurship, is one of many states considering laws and regulations to maintain the growing ridesharing trend. Ridesharing is a recent innovation that allows drivers to use their own cars and choose their own hours. It has rapidly spread nationwide and can be found in numerous cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta and Dallas.

Moreover, an increasing number of drivers are utilizing ridesharing options to increase their earnings and live a more comfortable lifestyle with flexible hours. It is mutually beneficial for Colorado riders and drivers.

Unfortunately, insurance and taxi lobbies have a financial interest and are exerting their influence on legislators and regulators to protect their profits by limiting local transportation options. Internet companies like Uber and Lyft are in serious danger of being driven out of Colorado, which means thousands of job will vanish. The nation is watching and looking forward to Governor John Hickenlooper signing SB14-125 into law. Now is the time to take action and The Internet Association requests that Governor Hickenlooper sign this important piece of legislation.

Currently being considered, SB 125 is a regulatory framework for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) in Colorado and is currently awaiting approval by the Governor. The bill defines Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and their services, such as Lyft and UberX and enables the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to appropriately regulate this emerging industry with suitable guardrails around safety and insurance. Vehicle inspections and criminal background checks are all required by the PUC for drivers to partner with TNCs. SB 125 will require that from the moment a driver accepts a ride, a $1,000,000 insurance policy goes into effect. Uber and Lyft have been the model for this coverage, having voluntarily put insurance policies into place that ensure that every aspect of the trip is adequately covered. It is vital that as the sharing economy expands, users of smartphone technology are able to quickly adapt. SB 125 introduces a reasonable timeline for innovative insurance products to come to market that will cover the period while the TNC enabled app is open but before a ride is accepted.

A bipartisan collaboration of lawmakers pushed to allow ride-sharing companies such as uberX and Lyft to remain in Colorado. Although ride-sharing exists in other states, whether informally or with bureaucratic approval, changing established standards can be especially challenging. If Governor John Hickenlooper signs the bill, Colorado will become the first state to approve this ride-for-hire model in its legislature. With this enabling legislation, thousands of Colorado drivers will be able to pursue a small business opportunity and earn wages with flexible schedules. SB 125 will preserve a healthy competitive market that provides Coloradans a choice in the type of affordable transportation they prefer.

We thank the Colorado legislature for taking the steps to support innovation and safety for its citizens with this historic measure. With the online community’s support, we can save jobs, allow more transportation options, and keep Colorado innovative. Let your voice be heard, and click here to sign the petition.