Ride-sharing companies "may create thousands of jobs" if governor signs bill

1 year 1 week 5 days ago Thursday, April 13 2017 Apr 13, 2017 Thursday, April 13, 2017 12:45:00 PM CDT April 13, 2017 in News
By: Kristen Reesor, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri House gave final approval Thursday to legislation that will enact a statewide regulatory framework to allow transportation network companies to expand and create jobs across the state.

Under House Bill 130, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft will soon be able to expand beyond the handful of Missouri cities where they currently operate.

The legislation, which is sponsored by state Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, is one of the priorities of Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, who called on his colleagues to pass the bill during his Opening Day Address in January.

Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said it is important to create a regulatory framework that will allow private enterprise to thrive in a free market.

"We want to create a regulatory environment that is not overly burdensome that will allow businesses to succeed and grow here in our state. This will end the patchwork of regulations from city to city and instead give ride-sharing companies a consistent framework to operate within,” he said.

Uber has said it plans to create 10,000 jobs in the next year if the bill has passed, because each driver is considered an independent contractor.

“This is a piece of legislation that will create thousands of jobs here in Missouri, and that will provide Missourians with a service they want and need," he said.

Currently, Uber operates only in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, and Springfield. Lyft offers services in Springfield. The bill would allow the companies to expand beyond municipalities that have passed their own ordinances governing ride-sharing.

House Bill 130 would establish criteria for fare charges and customer receipts. It would also require local and national criminal background checks for drivers, inspections for vehicles and an annual registration fee of $5,000. Additionally, the bill would exempt transportation network companies from local or municipal taxes. 

Richardson said passing the bill was a "truly bipartisan" effort.

I’m excited to see the governor sign the bill into law so we can allow these innovative companies to grow and create jobs here in Missouri,” he said.

If Gov. Eric Greitens signs it, the law would take effect August 28.

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