HARRISBURG, April 6, 2017 – State Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) released the following statement after the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the proposed settlement agreement with ride sharing company Uber Technologies.
While a proponent of Act 164 of 2016 that gave the PUC authority to regulate ride-share companies, Costa has long been a vocal critic of special provisions contained in the law which capped fines and penalties for Uber specifically at $250,000.
Costa had raised the special legislation during Senate floor debates and in a petition pending before the Commonwealth Court.
From Feb. to August of 2014, Uber was cited for 123,000 violations of operating without PUC authority and providing transportation services to the public for compensation without authorization.
Costa’s statement follows:
“I am pleased that a settlement agreement has been reached between the PUC and Uber Technologies. Today’s settlement of $3.5 million is the highest penalty ever imposed by the PUC on a utility. This issue lingered without resolution for far too long, preventing us from moving forward with full implementation of the ride-share legislation passed in Nov. 2016.
“Let me be clear – I have always been supportive of the ride-share concept and believe it to be a valuable part of our transportation network across Pennsylvania. However, I believe that all companies, regardless of industry, should be treated fairly, especially with respect to fines and penalties. No organization should have the benefit of special legislation being submitted for consideration specific to its individual needs.
“However, in this case, that’s exactly what was done. Act 164 was passed in the final moments of our two-year legislative session in November. Prior to passage, the bill was amended to include a retroactive provision for Uber, capping its financial penalty at $250,000 – far less than the $11.4 million for the 123,000 violations the company had accrued in fines for operating in the state without authority.
“Today’s approval of the settlement agreement brings closure to a complex case. My sincere thanks to our PUC Commissioners for their commitment to this issue and willingness to work with us to reach a settlement to which all parties could agree.”