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Assembly budget proposal slaps upstate ride-hailers with $1 fee

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  • Assembly budget proposal slaps upstate ride-hailers with $1 fee

    ALBANY — Ride-hailing surcharges could triple for upstate New Yorkers, according to a*provision in*the state Assembly's one-house budget proposal, released Monday night.
    The Assembly's proposed revenue bill adds a $1 fee for upstate ride hailers as well as those riding outside the proposed Manhattan congestion pricing zone, where Uber, Lyft and car service providers are slapped with a $2.75 fee.
    Though Uber and Lyft have been active in New York City for years, ride hailing has been available to upstate and Long Island residents only since June 2017.
    Uber representatives say the new fees would put an undue burden on upstate riders who already pay a 4 percent tax on ride-hailing apps, bringing the total surcharge on an average trip to 12 percent.
    "The NYS Assembly budget proposal more than triples the taxes on ridesharing for Upstate New Yorkers, who have only had access to affordable, reliable transportation options like Uber for eight months," said Uber spokesman Josh Gold. "Upstate New Yorker's can't afford more Albany taxes."
    If the combined fee is enacted, upstate riders would pay a surcharge 4 percent higher than what New York City residents currently pay — and the highest ride-sharing surcharge in the entire country, Gold said.
    One-house budget proposals are non-binding blueprints put out by the leaders of both legislative chambers ahead of budget talks to lay out each house's priorities. In addition to transportation funding, the Assembly's $170.2 billion "Families First" budget proposal outlines various investments in education, policies to confront sexual harassment, and criminal justice reforms.
    Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, defended the fee increase.
    "The bottom line is New York has many upstate transit needs. These companies need safe roads and bridges to transport their customers, and this proposal drives much-needed funding to support those needs," said Whyland.
    A spokesman for Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment.