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Gov. Ducey says he thinks Uber/Lyft fees at Sky Harbor will be overturned

(Getty Images Photo/Spencer Platt)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said he thinks it’s likely the Phoenix City Council’s decision last month to impose higher fees on ride-hailing pickups and drop-offs at Sky Harbor Airport will be legally blocked.

“It’s pretty easy to see that this is going to be overturned upon a challenge,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos in the Afternoon on Monday.

He said the plan is a “bad idea” that doesn’t align with what people have signaled they want.

“Why are they trying to change consumer behavior when people are using this because it’s convenient, because they can’t rely on a taxi and because they don’t want to take the train?” he said.

Uber and Lyft have both threatened to end service at the airport if the fees go into effect, but the governor said he thinks he thinks Mayor Kate Gallego will be able to find a solution.

“I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if she’s got a Plan B that’s she working on to fix this, because it needs to be fixed,” he said.

If the plan moves forward and Uber and Lyft don’t follow through on their threats, it will be up to them whether to eat the cost of the new fees or pass them along to riders or drivers.

But Ducey said he’s concerned about people having to shoulder the burden.

“It’s a tax increase. It’s going to cost citizens more. It’s going to cost people that are coming to our state, visitors, more,” he said.

The council in December approved fees that will begin Feb. 1 at $4 for each trip to and from the airport and increase 25 cents per year until reaching $5 in 2024.

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative Arizona think tank, has warned the city the proposal could violate a state ban on new taxes or tax increases on services.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said his office will issue an opinion next month on whether the fees are in violation.

The fee plan was designed in part to reduce the number of vehicles at the terminals and encourage use of the free PHX Sky Train, according to the city’s aviation department.

Fees will also apply to pickups and drop-offs at the 44th Street Sky Train station and the 24th Street station under construction, but at a 30% lower rate.

The plan is also intended to cover transportation infrastructure costs at the airport.

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