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Legislature opens Alaska to ride-hailing companies

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published May 17, 2017

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate passed a bill Wednesday that will allow ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to expand into the state.

House Bill 132, which passed the House on Monday, will go to Gov. Bill Walker's desk for his signature after Wednesday's unanimous Senate vote.

"Ride sharing is coming to Alaska!" Anchorage Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt tweeted after the Senate vote.

The bill's passage came after Uber tried to expand into Anchorage but pulled out after running afoul of city regulators. Uber and Lyft hired lobbyists this year to push the legislation, which bars municipalities from enacting or enforcing their own rules for ride-hailing companies.

A spokeswoman for Walker said the governor doesn't typically comment on legislation until it arrives on his desk. But he has voiced no objection to ride-hailing bills as they worked their way through the House and Senate this year.

The move in Alaska comes as another of Uber's major territories, Europe, appears poised to declare it a transportation company, not a network platform as the company sought. If the European Union's top court rules as expected, Uber  would be subject to new regulations that would force it to change its business model.

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