Anchorage taxi permit owners seek to repeal new taxi law by referendum

Anchorage taxi permit owners have launched a referendum effort to repeal a new city law that is set to increase the number of taxi permits, according to paperwork filed Friday with the city clerk's office.

Suzanne Smith, a member of the Anchorage Taxicab Permit Owners Association, is listed as the main sponsor of the referendum application.

If it passes a legal test and gets enough signatures to make it to the April city ballot, the referendum would seek to undo an ordinance, passed Tuesday by the Anchorage Assembly, that directs the city to issue more than 100 new taxi permits over the next five years. Assemblyman Bill Evans, who sponsored the measure, and his supporters said the new permits would improve cab service and help the city bring innovation to its transportation network.  

But in frequently emotional testimony to the Assembly this month, permit owners warned that the law would ruin their livelihoods and business investments and hurt service quality.

The referendum application next goes to the city attorney's office, where it will undergo a legal review. The group can start collecting signatures once the referendum passes the legal review.

If the group collects the roughly 5,700 signatures needed to place the referendum on the April city ballot, the permit ordinance will be suspended.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.