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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Encourage innovation

  • Author: David Phillips
    | Opinion
  • Updated: May 10, 2019
  • Published May 10, 2019

Each month I pay $325 for my 2015 Ford Fusion. It doesn’t matter if I am deployed and the car isn’t used, I’m still paying $325. When I learned that I can manage these costs while I am not using my car by sharing it on a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, I jumped at the opportunity. Who wouldn’t want some extra cash in their wallets? It makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is having the traditional rental car companies, like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, working to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing with little to no meaningful participation by the affected industry itself. They don’t want this new platform to succeed in Alaska.

As an active-duty military soldier, I have been able to use Turo to help make supplemental income, pay for my car debt and support my growing family. Yep, that’s right. This innovative technology is helping me and more than 700 Turo users in Alaska make some extra cash. Could it get any better? It can.

Peer-to-peer car sharing also gives the opportunity for military personnel, like me, to share their cars while they’re deployed instead of storing their vehicles away to collect dust.

On the flip side, friends, family, and members of the Turo community are able to avoid car rental agencies and opt for a more personal experience with a car owner. This ensures the car is cared for like your own and you chose the exact car you want to borrow.

However, the traditional rental car companies have worked to put this new innovation at risk. House Bill 102 was introduced to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing just like billion-dollar rental car companies. Rather than tax and regulate this new platform, I hope the Legislature will take another look.

Alaska needs ideas like this to help citizens like me and my family earn some extra money in a new, viable marketplace. Our fragile economy is begging for new ideas, new diversified opportunities to earn income. Let’s try to encourage and promote ideas like this, and not act too quickly. We run the risk of running off new entrants to an Alaska economy, and I, for one, want these companies and others to stick around.

— David Phillips


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