Constitution doesn’t bar airport fees on Uber, Lyft

By Jim Small | Arizona Mirror

Nothing in the Arizona Constitution bars the City of Phoenix from charging fees to for-profit companies like Uber and Lyft for conducting business at Sky Harbor International Airport, attorneys for the city said in a letter this week to the attorney general.

Photo by Stock Catalog /Flickr/CC BY 2.0

In a 19-page response to a legal challenge from a Republican legislator, attorney Jean-Jacques Cabou argued that the constitution gives cities a right to perform business functions. The argument from Rep. Nancy Barto and other Republicans opposed to the increased fees, including Gov. Doug Ducey, cherry-picks a few words from a constitutional ban on fees for services in order to comport to their view, Cabou added.

“For the City and its Airport to conduct business activities—as they have a constitutional right to—they must be able to charge reasonable fees for the use of their property,” Cabou wrote.

Barto last month formally challenged the city’s increase of fees for airport pick-ups and drop-offs by rideshare companies. She filed a complaint with Attorney General Mark Brnovich, alleging that the fees violate a provision of the Arizona Constitution barring new taxes, fees or assessments on services. Voters approved the prohibition in 2018 when they passed Proposition 126. 


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